Former Panthers legend Brad Fittler has recounted the first time he met Nathan Cleary as the Panthers halfback gets ready to take on the Broncos in the 2023 NRL Grand Final.

Playing with Nathan's father, Ivan Cleary, between 1996 and 1999 with the Sydney City Roosters, Fittler reminisced on the first moments he saw the young halfback as a two-year-old.

Surprisingly, Ivan Cleary (Warriors) and Brad Fittler (Roosters) would take on each other in the 2002 Grand Final with Fittler emerging victorious on the day with the Roosters.

"I was at his house when he was two and three, fair dinkum, and he was kicking off a tee at that age in Ivan's lounge room, just sitting there catching balls," Fittler said on Nine's Sunday Footy Show.

"This little kid, he was tiny, kicking balls off a tee."

"He started young and just hasn't gone away from the fact that you need to be able to practice but then hold the nerve under pressure and concentrate and focus," Fittler added.

"It's easy to do one of them, doing both of them, that's the art."

On the same television program, Cronulla Sharks icon and former premiership player Paul Gallen believes the amount of time that Cleary puts into his practice has made him one of the best halfbacks of all time and will gift Penrith an added advantage over Brisbane.

Cleary will go head-to-head against Adam Reynolds on Sunday night, with both men known for their kicking ability and providing their teams with opportunities and second-chance plays.

"I was watching a video last night on Nathan Cleary, the amount of practice and time and effort he puts into everything is amazing," said Gallen.

"When you have a guy who's at the top of his game and does so well – and you see how much he practices, how much time and effort he puts into things, you can't help but just commend them on what they're doing."