8 December 1981 |
Riverstone, New South Wales
|Height||190 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||105 kg (16 st 7 lb)|
Joel Clinton (born 8 December 1981 in Riverstone, New South Wales) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 2000s and 2010s. An Australian international representative prop forward, he played his club football in the National Rugby League for the Penrith Panthers (with whom he won the 2003 premiership) and the Brisbane Broncos. He also played for English club Hull Kingston Rovers of Super League.
Before joining the Penrith club, Clinton played for the Parramatta Eels. Rising to prominence in the Panthers' successful 2003 season, he helped the Panthers come from last place in 2001 to become Minor Premiers and eventual victory in the 2003 NRL Grand final. At the end of the 2003 NRL season, he went on the 2003 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, helping Australia to victory over Great Britain in what would be the last time the two nations contested an Ashes series. He described the experience as "a great personal bonus but it did not compare to winning the premiership with the guys you train and play with all year long." As 2003 NRL premiers, the Panthers travelled to England to face Super League VIII champions, the Bradford Bulls in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Clinton played at prop forward in the Panthers' 22–4 loss.
The Panther's first loss of the 2006 season came against the Raiders, a close, golden-point match. During the game, Clinton was hit by a high tackle from Raiders hooker Simon Woolford. Clinton received a black eye, but got up off the ground smiling, and continued playing. Clinton's ability to brush off the hit left Woolford claiming the high tackle wasn't that serious. These comments left Clinton steaming, saying "Woolford should learn to keep his mouth shut." In May 2006, Clinton was selected to trial for the New South Wales State of Origin team in the Country v. City game. Clinton played for City and commented before the game that he intended to "smash his way into the NSW side." Clinton saved a try in the first 20 minutes, diving on a cross-kick into the in-goal by Country. City eventually lost by 2 points, conceding tries while Clinton was off the field.
Manly five-eighth Travis Burns branded Joel Clinton as "childish" and a "bad sport" for allegedly squirting him with a water bottle while lining up a match-winning penalty goal in Round 20 (23 July 2006). Viewing the replay, it appears that Clinton was standing over 10 metres away from Burns, leading Coach John Lang to comment "it must've been a bloody big squirt".
In Round 19, 15 July 2006, Clinton made international headlines with a tackle on Ty Williams of the North Queensland Cowboys. With the Penrith Panthers ahead 12–8; Cowboys winger Ty Williams broke the Panthers line and headed for a runaway try in the corner. However, Clinton had enough pace and tenacity to pull the Queensland Origin player into touch just centimetres out from the tryline. Considered one of the fastest men in the NRL over one hundred metres, Williams was running for a game-changing four points. Instead, Clinton single-handedly reversed the momentum of the match. This allowed Panthers winger Michael Gordon to score in the final minute, giving the Panthers an unlikely 17–8 win.
Fresh from the off-season under new coach Matthew Elliott, Clinton said that confidence within the Panthers team was high for 2007. "Blokes like me, Trent Waterhouse and Luke Lewis have taken on a leadership role this year," Clinton said. "We used to be the younger generation but we've become senior players ourselves."
Clinton's level of fitness was also at an all time high, the off-season training trimming Clinton down from 115 kg to 108 kg. "I've never been this fit," Joel said. "I'm feeling unreal. Elliot commented that "(Joel's) training has been nothing short of phenomenal and I'm expecting his performances to follow."
Clinton put the initial Panthers loss to the Cronulla Sharks in Round 1 down to the change of coach. "Me and most of the other guys have only known one way for the past five years," Clinton said. "We've got to start to have belief. You've just got to back yourself, me and the boys. If we do that, we'll shake up the comp. I know it's early days to say that, but I think we should go pretty well."
After the Panthers win over the Bulldogs in Round 2, sports journalists were commenting on how important Clinton was to the effort. "He'd primed himself to match the muscle of Canterbury's Mark O'Meley and Willie Mason and produced as good a performance as he's given since 2003, when he made the Australian squad as a young prop."
In Round 4, in response to Scott Prince complaining about off-the-ball play, Joel Clinton was interviewed for his personal view on dirty tricks in the NRL: "If stuff happens on the field you leave it on the field. I never take anything off the field. I don't like to go home and whinge about it."
In Round 5, Clinton was criticised for the amount of penalties he conceded in the game, and season generally. However, Clinton continued to top the work rates in the Panthers side.
In Round 7, the Panthers lost to the Canberra Raiders. Clinton said he was disgusted with the team's performance. During the week, a virus spread through the team, affecting Clinton, Luke Priddis, Frank Puletua, Nathan Smith and Craig Gower – who was hospitalised. Despite the virus, Clinton thought it wasn't an excuse for the loss. "There were a couple of crook boys but that's something you just have to deal with," Clinton said.
In Round 9 the Panthers broke their five match losing streak against the Cowboys, despite the early loss of halfback play-maker Craig Gower. Clinton also broke his season long try scoring drought. Solely chasing a mediocre kick, the bounce of the ball confused Cowboys winger Brenton Bowen, allowing Clinton to gather and score in the corner. The try pushed momentum in favour of the second-from-the-bottom Panthers and pushed second-placed Cowboys "into despair." Clinton's performance in the game earned him the status of a stand out player of Round 9.
"Clinton's effort was one of the few spectacular things to happen in a scrappy game, his athletic pick-up on the fly from a Peter Wallace kick belying the fact he is a front row forward and one of the biggest players in the NRL."
2008 Move to the Broncos
Clinton came off contract in 2008 – Panthers rhetoric had suggested he would not be renewed at his current salary. Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett then met with Clinton in Sydney in May 2007, spiking speculation whether Clinton would join the Broncos for 2008. Negotiations with the Panthers began, with Clinton being offered a three-year contract with both the Panthers and Broncos. On 1 June 2007, it was confirmed that Clinton had signed to the Brisbane Broncos for the 2008 NRL season. There, he is expected to fill the big shoes of retired Shane Webcke.
Clinton injured his ankle late in the season and missed a few rounds as the Broncos headed towards the finals.
Return to Australia
During their 2003 premiership winning season, Clinton lived with fellow Panther Ben Ross. The two were well known for cycling to training sessions and most local destinations. "We have a race to training most of the time," Ross stated. "I always win," added Clinton. In one incident, Clinton rolled down a set of stairs, tried to brake "the wrong brakes at the front" – locked up his wheels and sent bicycle and 114 kilograms of first grade footballer through a video store window, to the shock and bemusement of the customers.
After winning the 2003 NRL Premiership, Joel Clinton got a tattoo of a giant snarling panther on his right shoulder, "a reminder of the feats of the past". He also has a tattoo of a phoenix on his right forearm.
Super League tries
- Scores and results list Joel's try tally first.
|20 June 2010||Craven Park||Harlequins RL||42–6||Super League||1|
|24 July 2010||Craven Park||Bradford Bulls||49–24||Super League||1|
- "Hull KR The Official Site of the Robins". web page. Hull Kingston Rovers RLFC. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- Joel Clinton Rugby League Project
- "Aussie Clintons a Rover". The Sun (London). 30 December 2009.
- Phelps, James (24 January 2007). "Big cats starting leaner, meaner". The Daily Telegraph.
- Blaschke, Ben (8 April 2007). "No one wants to be a dobber". The Sunday Telegraph.
- Riccio, David (29 April 2007). "Raiders upset Penrith". The Sunday Telegraph.
- "NRL week nine stand-out stars". Television New Zealand. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Ricketts, Steve (29 May 2007). "Broncos contract talks on hold". The Daily Telegraph.
- Joel Clinton signs with Mackay Cutters rleague.com, 16 August 2012
- "It's BMX and babies by the pool". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 September 2003.
- Phelps, James (30 March 2007). "Panthers coach – we can win it". The Daily Telegraph.