Cleary held a five minute press conference today at Campbelltown Leagues Club, the first time he has spoken publicly since ex-Panthers coach Anthony Griffin’s sacking.
Cleary confirmed he had met with Panthers Penrith chairman David O’Neill, but revealed he was not aware the meeting would have anything to do with his potential return o the club.
“I’ve been very disappointed with the amount of misinformation surrounding myself and my family this week,” Cleary read from his prepared statement.
“I intend to make this statement to clarify my position and following this statement I will not be taking any questions further on this matter.
“When I was approached by the Panthers, initially I had no idea it was about coaching their club.
“I was told at that meeting that the club was looking at the future of the head coaching position. I advised the Panthers of my ongoing contract status with Wests Tigers.
“I subsequently advised the chair and the CEO of Wests Tigers of the discussions I had had with the Panthers.
“I have not received any offer from the Panthers, nor have I asked the Wests Tigers for a release.
“I am enjoying my contribution at this club. The club is growing nicely, everyone associated with this club should be proud of the direction it’s heading in. I’m privileged to be part of this journey and respect the contract I have with Wests Tigers.
“I respect all of the people and supporters involved with this club and intend to honour this contract.
“It is common knowledge that my son, Nathan and I, have acknowledged our desire to work together at some time. That remains the case.
“Today I’m absolutely focused on our match against the Canberra Raiders and am happy to take questions around that game.”
When officially asked if he was going to remain a Tiger, Cleary replied: “I’m honouring my contract.”
He took no further questions.