NRL Rd 8 - Tigers v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers thanks the crowd during the round eight NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Penrith Panthers at Bankwest Stadium on July 04, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers and New South Wales star half Nathan Cleary has confirmed he will need shoulder surgery in the off-season.

While Cleary, who is one of five contenders who has been named to take out the Dally M award on Monday night, has managed to play through seven games without incident since returning from the injury, he has confirmed it hasn't fully healed.

The injury was originally sustained in Game 2 of the State of Origin series, forcing Cleary to miss almost two months of action.

Following Saturday night's gutsy preliminary final victory over the Melbourne Storm, Cleary told the media he would need surgery during the off-season.

State of Origin - QLD v NSW: Game 1
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 04: Nathan Cleary of the Blues offloads the ball during game one of the 2020 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Adelaide Oval on November 04, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“Yeah, probably, but we’ll jump that bridge when we get to it,” Cleary said when asked if he needs surgery.

Cleary was outstanding in the preliminary final, controlling the Panthers' kicking game and standing up in defence time and time again as Penrith confirmed their status as the NRL's best defensive outfit.

It's the third time in the finals Penrith have been involved in a low-scoring nail-biter, and while their attack has been clunky, they have three wins to show for it.

The Penrith star told the media he has gained confidence in his shoulder and doesn't think of it when playing, however, the risk of re-injury is understood to be great having avoided surgery when it first occurred.

“I don’t think of it (when playing). I’ve gained confidence from putting in the work at training and strengthening it," Cleary said.

“I wouldn’t go on the field if I was worried. It’s not painful, it’s just the worry of getting it in an awkward position.

“It’s been a work in progress each week trying to strengthen it. They (medical staff) have put so many hours into me.”

NRL Rd 12 - Sea Eagles v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers kicks during the round 12 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland on August 01, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Cleary will, however, be sweating on the NRL match review committee today after he was placed on report for a dangerous lifting tackle during the first half of yesterday's victory.

The match review committee will deliver their findings on Sunday morning.