Wests Tigers veteran Benji Marshall has spoken out about Ivan Cleary’s decision to remain head coach of the Tigers, following rumours he would be linking up with son Nathan at the Panthers next season.
Cleary still has two years to run on his deal at Concord, although following Penrith’s decision to sack Anthony Griffin in early August, speculation was mounting that Cleary would seek a move to the Panthers to team up with his son.
However, Cleary ultimately decided to stay, although Marshall understands the reasons why Cleary considered a move to the foot of the mountains.
“These are my words and not Ivan’s but I could imagine he wanted to take the pressure off Nathan because they want to work together,” Marshall told the Daily Telegraph.
“It’s hard for Nathan to leave his mates at Penrith — so that would have been an opportunity to take that decision out of Nathan’s hands by coaching him at the Panthers.
“I think with what happened with that coaching situation, it would be something that you’d want to entertain.
“But entertaining was one thing and he obviously didn’t commit to that.
“So from my point of view, and I’ve been talking to Ivan through that whole period, he was going nowhere.
“Ivan is a man of his honour and I could see that he didn’t want to have that tarnished by leaving.
“That was probably a big reason why he didn’t follow that through.
“But Ivan is the shining light for the Wests Tigers fans. That is why they were so filthy when the news came out because they didn’t want him to go.”
Cleary and Marshall will team up one last time in 2019, after the New Zealand international signed a one-year extension last month to see out his career as a Tiger.