Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary is expected to break his silence and make a call on his future coaching plans when he speaks before the team’s captain run on Saturday, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.
Despite still having two years to run on his current contract, Cleary was reportedly approached by the Panthers two weeks ago to discuss a potential homecoming.
Cleary was sacked by Penrith years ago, but now has the opportunity to team up with his son, Nathan, something the duo have each expressed interest in doing at some stage.
Tigers veteran Benji Marshall has revealed that Cleary has addressed the playing group with regards to the situation, without divulging many details.
“What was said in that meeting I’m not going to say because all our meetings we do keep private. I’ll let Ivan address that at the time he speaks (on Saturday),” Marshall told The Daily Telegraph.
“I don’t want to be the one to say what happened in that meeting.”
Marshall is hopeful that Cleary will not walk from the club, but has faith that the Tigers are now in a strong enough position to withstand his potential departure.
“I feel like I am confident (he’ll stay), but rugby league’s rugby league,” Marshall said.
“I thought I was going to stay here forever and we know how that worked out. You expect anything in the game.
“At the end of the day, what I do know is our club is very strong and proud club. Since I’ve been back at the club, I’ve really noticed that.
“I feel like we’ve got the right people in charge at the top and the right people to point us in the right direction. Whatever does happen, we have faith.”
Additionally, Marshall understands the pull for Ivan to leave the club to coach Nathan elsewhere.
“I feel like I would love to coach my son. Hopefully he just plays golf and then I can be his caddie and we can just cruise off and that’s enough,” Marshall said.
“I can understand wanting to coach your son, 100 per cent.”
Co-captain Chris Lawrence added that the Tigers’ club culture is in a good space amid a great bond between the players.
“One of the first reasons you come to the club is for the coach,” Lawrence told The Daily Telegraph.
“But once you get to a club – and I’m not speaking on behalf of all the boys – (it’s about) the culture within the club and playing group around it.
“I know a lot of the boys who’ve come this year have built a close bond with a lot of the players. Whilst they might be disappointed if (Ivan left), I don’t think that would change.”