SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Panthers coach Ivan Cleary looks on after the NRL trial match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers at Redfern Oval on February 23, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary wants to see the NRL introduce trade windows to help give players and fans more clarity on contract situations as he believes the system in place now is “messy”.

With plenty of news surrounding contract situations around the league and the season starting in a months time, the Panthers boss wants to see more clarity to clear the confusion that seems to be taking place more times than not.

Cleary said he worries about where the current format is heading and wants to see a change.

“I just think we can do it better than how we’re doing it at the moment,” Cleary told The Sydney Morning Herald. 

“I worry about where it’s going to head. Other sports do it and it seems to be successful for them. It creates interest, it creates media, there are plenty of ways how you could package it up.

“Fans can get really involved in the process; it’s like fantasy league, that creates fan interaction and that’s what they are into.

“[Contract] values could be more accurate, recruitment processes would be better and more accurate. It feels like it could be better.

“I don’t have the whole answer, I haven’t looked at it that much, but it’s a bit messy at the moment.”

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA – MAY 17: Panthers coach Ivan Cleary speaks to the media after the round 10 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the New Zealand Warriors at Panthers Stadium on May 17, 2019 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cleary added that the current system of a free-for-all market is adding a lot of confusion for current players and it’s not something that is easy on the mind of a professional athlete.

“You get a lot of situations where guys are confused: ‘Am I going or am I staying? Am I on the market or am I not?’” Cleary said.

“That’s one thing we have tried to do, to be nice and upfront about everything. There’s nothing worse than going out playing and then you pick up the paper and you’re getting shopped.

“The easy thing to say is you wouldn’t be able to police it properly. They used to say that about the salary cap, but they got a lot better at doing that.”

Cleary would love to see two or three windows a season and said although there is the potential of early issues, it’s something that will get better as time goes on.

“You’re probably going to get some teething problems in the first couple [of windows], so it’s important to not just say it doesn’t work and dump it,” he said.

“It’s the sort of thing that would become better over time.”


  1. Spot on, Ivan, one should also add that special consideration should be given the clubs who develop their own juniors, e.g. the Panthers.

  2. Yep.

    Panthers develop all of their own players.

    James Tamou
    Trent Merrin
    Jaemon Salmon
    Scott Sorensen
    Matt Eisenhuth
    Api Koroisau
    Paul Momirovski
    Kurt Capewell
    Zane Tetivano
    Dean Whare

    That’s just ten names off the top of my head that Penrith have poached from other clubs.

    Then again flops like EastOfDivide tend to think if they played for the Riff they can be counted as Riff juniors who were solely devolped by them.

  3. By the way Matt Eisenhuth is a Parramatta junior developed by us but as he has signed with the Riff their supporters will claim him as a Riff junior.

  4. Nathan Cleary, Jerome Luai, James Fisher Harris, Brian To’o, Spencer Leniu, Issah Yeo, Dylan Edwards, Charlie Staines, Tyrone May, Stephen Crichton, Mitch Kenny and Matt Burton, are local Penrith juniors. I am aware that some were not born in the area, however, the Panthers spent money developing them. Try again.

  5. You can add St George Illawarra as a club who also develop their juniors

    Matt Dufty, Zac Lomax, Max Fegai, Matt Fegai, Adam Clune, Trent Merrin, Jack Bird, Tariq Sims, Jackson Ford, Blake Lawrie and Jaiden Sullivan have all come through the Dragons development programs, and it shows how important junior player development is for the game and NRL cubs.

  6. Just like to see bonuses for your own developed juniors. Say 10% salary cap dispensation for juniors for life. 10% transfer fees of the sign on amount to the club when poached or signed away. 5% dispensation for players who have played 5 continuous or more years at the same club, and 5% transfer fee minimum if breaking a contract. Something like this would compensate the clubs who generate the talent and punish those who don’t.

  7. Hey mreel, League Fan75 , River Slitherer or whoever you are today?
    You’re pretty desperate in your search to try & find non Penrith juniors at that club, when you have to name Trent Merrin. Been quite a while since Trent Merrin was at the club.
    You’re also naming other players who’ve also just left the club.
    I guess Penrith has to have some players on a one year deal like Salmon & Sorenson . From other clubs , but unwanted. As a huge amount of their already developed local juniors are off playing at Parramatta, West’s, Bulldogs , Cronulla etc.
    As for the country players at Penrith. They actually came from the Penrith pathways program for country players. In areas that Penrith often have their own coaches & local Panthers teams.
    Parramatta Eels wouldn’t have any idea about that? As they’ve not been bothered with that or for many years , or worried about developing any local juniors. Just buy them from Penrith or whoever else, once they’re at first grade level.
    Take a look at the last couple of years & teams that Penrith have fielded . You’ll find plenty of games when Penrith have fielded teams with as many as 15 locally developed players & juniors . That have come through the Penrith junior & lower grades.
    When your Eels get to that amount of locally developed & juniors in their team . You come back . As then you’ll have something worth saying.
    When it come to your chat about non locals .
    Only a truly pitiful supporter of any western suburbs club, would rather Melbourne win a GF , than another western suburbs club. However, that pretty much sums you up.

  8. By the way mreel.
    Parramatta paid their own way with that new Centre Of Excellence, Football Club Venue or Stadium as yet?
    As according to you , as they’ve not paid their own way . That makes them a drag on the rest of the NRL . Then they should fold.
    You could then enjoy the round ball game all the time , with all of the new Parramatta locals.

  9. Out-Of-Puff…
    You’re spot on with those suggestions, for locally developed players.
    It would also make many clubs try much harder to develop their own players. Rather than just buy those that are already ready to play first grade. As they could see it being a monetarily worthwhile thing to do. Which then also expands the game, with increased playing numbers & supporters of the game.

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