SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Wests Tigers coach and father of Nathan Cleary, Ivan Cleary watches on from the stands during the NRL Semi Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium on September 14, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

A major sponsor of the Canterbury Bulldogs has accused Penrith coach Ivan Cleary of being hypocritical after the former Wests coach revealed departing halfback Matt Burton would honour his contract with the Panthers.

Burton is set to join the Bulldogs at the end of the year, but has since been linked to an early release to Belmore following on from manager David Riolo demanding the 20-year-old be granted the move a season prior to the agreed date.

“Penrith have been really good and developed the kid. But both parties should move on, it (will be) better for all of them. He will lose a year of first grade if he stay," Riolo told The Daily Telegraph.

“It is better for Matt Burton. It is better for Bulldogs. And it is better for Penrith because they remove a surplus player who doesn’t really want to be there.

“He wants to be somewhere else.”

Penrith reportedly requested former Maroons prop Dylan Napa in exchange for an early release for Burton, with the Bulldogs rejecting the deal post haste.

Cleary and the Panthers have stood firm on Burton remaining at the foot of the mountains for the 2021 season, despite the likelihood of limited game time at senior level.

Canterbury sponsor Arthur Laundy has criticised Cleary's decision to hold onto Burton's services after the coach up and left the Tigers in 2018 whilst having two years remaining on his contract at Concord.

“If Matt was going to play first grade all season then I could absolutely understand why the Panthers want to retain him,” Laundy said, per Fox Sports.

“But if he’s only going to be a back-up player and get an opportunity here and there well that’s a different story.

“I don’t know Ivan Cleary but from a distance he’s always looked like a pretty fair sort of a bloke.

“Ivan was allowed to break his contract with the Wests Tigers so I thought he might have some understanding here.

“It’s disappointing, especially when you are talking about a player who is ready to play NRL now.

“They may change their minds. For Matt’s sake, we’re hoping so.”

Laundy is understood to have had a significant role in luring Burton to Belmore, who signed a three-year deal with the Bulldogs in November last year.

If Burton is to bide his time with the Panthers, he will arrive at Canterbury alongside Melbourne and NSW star winger Josh Addo-Carr from 2022.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Cleary was willing to fulfill his obligations to the West Tigers, when it became clear that the Tigers were not, he was force to pay compensation to them. Sounds like Laundry is becoming increasingly desperate. The Bulldogs are a basket case, and Matt Burton will regret his move.

  2. Panthers18 you’re bonkers. Cleary ditched Wests because Penrith sacked whoever the useless coach they had was. Cleary absolutely fkd the Tigers when he left them.

  3. No I am far from mentally disturbed, flaxmatheseeker. Yes Anthony Griffin was sacked by the club, however, Ivan was quite prepared to see out the final year of his contract. As for your comment about Ivan leaving the Tigers in a shambles, no he didn’t. The board would have had to approve the contracts before hand. Try again.

  4. Just because the board approved it doesn’t mean he didn’t ditch Wests. About half of all players in the NRL would have left their contracts early. Not necessarily because the club wanted to let them go, but because it would be so much easier than if they decided to fight. It would make everyone involved pissed off

  5. Ivan paid compensation to the Tigers. The bulldogs should do the same if they want Burton early. It is that simple.

  6. Boards back their coaches while they are in favour. Ivan did the dirty on the Tigers and left them with players they didn’t really want on big money, but Ivan wanted at the time. Griffin is trying to do the exact same thing at the Dragons wanting to bring has been players he has an association with from years previous. Coaches get the support when in favour. The clubs get shafted along with the fans when it all falls apart and it always falls apart!

  7. Fellows, I do not know, nor do I care, what teams your support, however, I will say this jealousy is a curse.

  8. Horrible to see the panthers holding back a young player from forfilling his dream to be a first grade 5/8. Shame on you Penrith.

  9. League Fan75, it would be career halting if Burton went to the Bulldogs. If they want Burton to go early, offer some compensation, and a player(s) swap. Simple.

  10. Most of you guys are full of crap . Just like the story .
    Ivan Cleary didn’t break any contract , or ask to be released early by the Tigers.
    Whether he should or shouldn’t have signed to coach at Penrith again, for after his coaching contract ended at West’s? That was up to him. However, once West’s found out that he wasn’t going to be there after his then current contract ran out , they shafted him . Saying that that situation was untenable.
    He always said that while he still under contract at West’s , that he wanted to see that contract out.
    Why after West’s gave him the boot , Penrith paid West’s anything directly who would know? They hadn’t done anything illegal & there were no rules to say that coaches or other staff couldn’t sign on elsewhere , for after any current contract that they had finished.
    West’s Tigers poached chief executive Justin Pascoe , from Penrith. By just offering more money. They also got him to choose the other staff that he wanted him to bring with him. Which he did. The first time Penrith knew anything about that, was the morning he came in & cleaned out his desk to leave.
    So any holier than thou stuff by West’s Tigers , is also just crap.
    Why do most of you think that Penrith should release Burton or anyone else early from a contract that they signed & have much to say about it? When you make zero comment on other clubs not doing the same thing. Newcastle never lets players who have signed to play elsewhere, go a year early. That’s their policy & bully for them. Aren’t they entitled to do that? Absolutely! Don’t sign any contract & expect to automatically walk out a year early. So are Penrith entitled to do exactly the same thing as any other club can chose to do.
    League Fan75, is just mreel in disguise. Pretending not to be a Panthers hating eels supporter. It’s the same mreel who said how happy he was to see Penrith lose the GF last year & see you next season riff fans. Couldn’t stand being known as that Penrith hating eels fan anymore mreel? Thought you’d put on a new disguise?

  11. Panthers 18, is absolutely correct. Want Burton to go to the Bulldogs early? Offer compensation to Penrith. $600,000 for the season would be fine! It’s less than the Bulldogs will actually be paying Burton per season. Especially after they add in the extra ‘Independent Corporate Sponsorships’, that are allowed to be paid to players, outside of the cap.
    If not that much? Penrith are the ones who’ve put the mentoring, effort & money , into bringing these young’s guys through. Such as Burton. Bulldogs have done jacks…hit with bringing most players through that they sign. So at least $100,000 for a first grader dogs! Pay up you cheapskates… Roosters paid to get a player ( $50,000 ) , from South’s . Who’s not even a South’s junior & never played first grade.
    Or if this isn’t to the cheapskates liking? Give a player swap , of the player of Penrith’s choosing.
    Otherwise, suck it up & see your new player when he’s actually signed for : 2022.

  12. By the way Mr. Laundy. Don’t see you trying to putting pressure on the Melbourne Storm ? To release Addo-Carr early.
    Seems to indicate that the Bulldogs ( which your no actual part of as just a sponsor ), are desperate. As they have no decent 5/8th for 2021.
    If the club you sponsor & you ‘ are pretty fair sought’s of blokes ‘? Why don’t you pay for the right to get Burton early? Why don’t you otherwise put pressure on the club you sponsor, to release a player of Penrith’s choosing to go to Penrith. As a player swap.
    I mean, ‘You’re all pretty fair sought’s of blokes ‘, aren’t you?

  13. Pushing a club favourite out the door like Mansour was a bad look, now keeping a player who has flat out said he doesn’t want to be there….A player who isn’t even in their 1st 17. This club is the basket case of the nrl not the bulldogs

  14. League Fan75, Mansour is aged 30, he is being replaced by a player who is aged 20. Mansour is no loss. Also other clubs do that. Who knows if Matt wants to go now anyway. Disagree with your last sentence. The bulldogs are a basket case. One last thing, since when did sponsors talks to potential players family?

  15. No denial there League Fan75, or should we just call you mreel?
    Who’s club favourite is Mansour? Phil Gould shouldn’t have re-signed him or Whare last time. They’d past their prime then.
    Changed your story up since your last piece , mreel. What’s wrong? No actual argument?
    Penrith did do the right thing to save money. Kept the faster , younger, better player . Same as any other club does.
    Just two examples out of hundreds each year. Salmon pushed out of your eels mreel. Sorensen pushed out of Cronulla. To keep other players & save money. Exactly the same thing!

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