CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 17: Tigers coach Ivan Cleary looks on before the start of the NRL trial match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Wests Tigers at Barlow Park on February 17, 2018 in Cairns, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Ivan Cleary will return to Penrith next season, and has joined the Panthers on a five-year deal.

After spending the past two seasons at the Wests Tigers, Cleary returns to coach his son at the foot of the mountains, as the pair have finally linked up as a player and coach at the same club at NRL level.

Cleary thanked the Tigers for their understanding in the situation.

“I am very fond of Wests Tigers and all its people,” Cleary told penrithpanthers.com.au.

“I enjoyed my time there and it is a club heading in the right direction.

“I would like to thank Justin Pascoe and Marina Go for their professionalism throughout.

“I am honoured to be back as head coach of Panthers and very much look forward to being part of the future journey.

“Personally I had a feeling of unfinished business with a club and a community that my family and I enjoy a strong connection with, from grassroots through to NRL players, staff and management.

“We have raised our family in the community for a number of years and are proud to call it home.”

Cameron Ciraldo will move back to the assistant coaching role, with Peter Wallace to join him in 2019 in that position.

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