Super Bowl 2024 | NRL news; Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai exclusive; American sports vs Australian sports; Undisputed documentary

It’s no secret a number of NRL players are admirers of American sports – and episode one of Undisputed proves that.

In the 9now documentary that goes behind the scenes of the Panthers’ three-peat, viewers are given an insight into the side’s preparation for the 2023 finals series.

As week one rolls around, Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary excitedly proclaim the NFL is back.

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It’s an insight into the Australian athletes’ obsession with what’s happening overseas, and how the sport is marketed differently.

In 2020, the Panthers decided to rock up to training wearing eye-catching clothing, with Yeo notably fronting up in a Ricky Bobby costume.

Episode one of Undisputed will premiere on 9Now at 12pm on Friday.

It was a far cry from the usual club polo shirt ensemble.

Recently, Jarome Luai announced his move to the Wests Tigers in a press conference that seemed to mirror LeBron James’ The Decision. 

The NBA great left everyone in suspense in 2010 with uncertainty about where he was heading. An ESPN special involved a sit down interview with James announcing he was signing with Miami Heat.

Luai laughs at the suggestion there were parallels between his press conference and James. 

”With the press conference it was more just to tell it from my mouth, rather than let the people I know and love wonder if it’s true or not so that’s why that press conference came to be,” he told Wide World of Sports at the premiere of Undisputed.

Despite moving away from any suggestion of similarities with James, Luai is a big fan of American sports, and the way players are able to act.

Episode one of Undisputed will premiere on 9Now at 12pm on Friday.

Asked if there was anything from America he wished was in Australian sport, the Panthers five-eighth doesn’t hesitate. 

“Definitely, bro,” he said.

“I think Australia is a bit behind in many aspects of marketing and the way they use social media.

“I just like everything they’re about, they get to express themselves a lot more and more often – even just wearing their own kit into games. I really like that.”

His halves partner, Cleary, was able to experience the full American sports culture in the off-season, mixing with the Philadelphia 76ers squad.

After the 2021 grand final victory, he and Yeo also put their own spin on NFL superstars’ Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s ‘Bad Boys for Life’ video after Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the NFC Championship that same year.

Cleary, like Luai, says much of his admiration of American sports comes from the way players are able to be themselves.

“I think it’s just the whole scale, obviously in America there’s just such a bigger scale where they do everything on such a bigger level,” he told WWOS.

“One cool thing about American sport is the personalities, they really get around that and people can really be themselves.

“I think we’re getting there. I think it’s becoming much more acceptable to be yourself but as much as that’s nice, you’ve still got to be putting the team first.”

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