SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Tigers coach Ivan Cleary looks on during the round 19 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

NRL journalist Paul Kent is reporting that Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary would be willing to walk out on the club at the end of the season to team up with his son, Nathan, at the Penrith Panthers.

“It began last week. Dave O’Neil, the chairman of the Penrith football club, rang Ivan. They still keep in contact,” Kent told NRL 360.

“Ivan has told Wests Tigers he believed the meeting was about Nathan, his son at the club.

“He went to the meeting and in the meeting they asked Ivan: ‘Would you ever come back come back? And if so, when do you think you would? 2021? 2022?’

“And Ivan said: ‘I would be willing to go back next year. Sooner rather than later’.

“They (Panthers) were just spitballing. If Ivan was going to go back it would be next year. Not in two years time, three years time.”

Kent added that because the Panthers are better positioned to achieve success than the Tigers may influence Ivan in his bid to coach Nathan.

“The other thing that is interesting is that Ivan’s son is at Penrith. He wants the best for his son, he wants his son to get good coaching he wants to see his son flourish as a player.

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“Ivan is entitled to think that here (Penrith) might be the best place to do that. Why give another coach a couple of years to get to Nathan and perhaps not allow him to grow as a footballer as he believes he should?

“So Ivan could go there and look after his son who’s at the club.

“(Wests Tigers) don’t have a centre of excellence, resources, list or kids coming through that Penrith have got.”


    • So it is okay for the Tigers to do this, and not the Panthers? It makes sense that Ivan would want to return to the club which he has helped rebuild.

      • You cant be serious Panthers18! This is a just a low act, and certainly not a good example to set for his son, whom apparently is the whole reason why this is even being discussed.
        As a Tiger’s fan I am disappointed he is even considering this, when you consider the lifeline we gave Ivan.
        Gus also has no Morals!

      • How is he returning to a club that “he helped rebuild”. Didn’t Gould give him the flick last time around, because he said he wasn’t up to it. Now after half a season at a team that isn’t in the 8, he is suddenly the Messiah.

      • My goodness not this clown again .. You go on about us doing it but when? Last time I checked mate we didn’t try and poach another clubs coach or even your head coach with two years remaining on his contract! If you’re on about the Pascoe situation it’s different mate and you’re kidding yourself if you think it’s a similar situation. Pascoe stepped down or whatever got fired who cares, we didn’t interview him til after the season was over like we did with every other candidate , then he joined us. Get your facts right mate and get your own coach. Why should we have to pay for your clubs mess? You guys fired him for Griffin, then fired Griffin for Ivan .. are we going to see yous fire Ivan again in 3 years for Griffin again haha my goodness I wouldn’t be surprised knowing fat boy Gus haha

      • Panthers 18 you must think everyone is stupid. Cleary did not rebuild the club, Cleary got SACKED and Gould wants his son, The only way Gould will get his son is if he gets the father. If the father has got any decency he will insure he does not get sacked again by the same boss and entice his son to the Tigers. If Cleary goes back to Penrith then he will be labeled a traitor and a fool.👎

      • I am serious. WestTigersNation, your club has done this before. I am in no way say this is right, it is what it is. Also clubs does this to players all of the time.

        • Panthers18, I take your point, and let’s face it every club has done some “questionable” things.
          Whilst I don’t agree with the Panthers strategy, the decision is Ivan’s, and it’s hard to argue his credibility hasn’t already taken a big hit, but if he walks out of his contract with the Tigers, well that’s a low, a serious low in my book.
          I can understand why Tigers supporters would be fuming, and rightly so, especially given the timing. Maybe they shouldn’t be taking it out on the Panthers, and should direct it more towards Ivan, but I can understand why they are nonetheless.
          The way I see it, and even as an Eels supporter, so not directly affected by it, if Ivan walks out on his contract, I hope it finds a way to backfire, but misses Nathan.

        • You don’t see my point, what is the difference when a club does that to a player? Answer nothing. All clubs do this.

        • So because he doesn’t completely agree with you he doesn’t see where you are coming from?It seems to me that it is in fact you who fail to see or acknowledge that anyone else might have a different point of view to you.

          I personally hope that Ivan does not go back to Penrith, simply as I believe not only will it hurt his reputation to walk out on the Tigers after one year and all of the build up and carry on about what he was trying to achieve there, but because it will look pretty weak on his part to go back to the club that shafted him as he looked “tired” or however Gould put it. Everyone can see that the only reason they want him back is to keep Nathan, so I think the best thing for Ivan and Nathan is to remain at different clubs for now, and if they do reunite, not at the Panthers.

          And for the record Panthers 18, I do infact see your point and it does happen all the time, clubs shaft players and coaches and players and coaches walk out on clubs. I just see this scenario as a whole different thing given the people and the perceived motives of the Panthers in this.

  1. So, Ivan told the WT players and club today he has a difficult family decision to make…..

    I’m sorry Ivan, if you want to link up with son Nathan and he DOES NOT want to leave the Panthers, then join him as Panthers coach when you current contract expires in 2020…. Ivan that is not a difficult decision to make.!

    if Ivan doesn’t see out his contract, the persona of him being a man of integrity blah…blash was just a cruel Hoax….

  2. The most important thing for Ivan Cleary is that his players are “on the bus”. He said nothing about the coach being on the same bus.

  3. Just a thought, and I could be wrong, however.

    If the Panthers are offering Ivan a job so Nathan stays/ signs a new deal, does that mean Ivan’s contract is counted in the salary cap?

    • Good point, because I used think Ivan and Nathan were father and son, but maybe they’re actually Siamese twins.

  4. If he does go and Nathan resigns surely you’d have a clause where if Gus does what Gus does best Nathan has a get out ticket

  5. I feel for Tigers fans and I find it hard to believe that Ivan would go back to the club that sacked him, especially with Gould there, but I guess money talks.

  6. I still can’t believe people are finding hard to believe that Ivan is considering going back to the club that sacked him….. his considering it because HIS SON IS THERE!!!!!!!!!! get it through your heads….. his putting his sons needs infront of his own….. he wants to coach his son and his son wants to coach him, only difference is his son wants to stay at his club hence why Ivan is co side ring leaving.
    Any caring father would put their sons wants and needs infront of their own

  7. All contract breaking transfers should be counted under salary cap at double the monetary value for the balance of the time on the players/coaches contract. That might deter clubs from poaching mid contract staff. Look at the current situation. Penrith have made the semis last year and should do so this year. The tigers are rebuilding and are an outside chance of making the semis. This act by Penrith or who ever rides roughshod over everything there may well destabilise whatever chance the tigers have. What compensation is Penrith going to pay the Tigers for the possibility of lost revenue etc.

    As for the individuals and or officials involved in this type of activity, whatever ever happened to honouring a contract. The NRL should step in and end the practice of inducing people to brake contracts. It is disruptive, breaks down the concept of team image for fans and club staff and reduces the game to a revolving door of shallow commercial deals with no loyalty involved.

  8. To throw in my 10 cents worth:
    * Ivan Cleary is not a successful or proven coach. I don’t get the attraction
    * I wouldn’t want to be a player at the Panthers with the Cleary Family and Gus show
    * Why do players and coaches bother signing contracts?
    * Channel 9 should sack Gus – too many conflicts on interest.
    * NRL are weak as pis$

  9. Here`s my two bobs worth……1. Ivan doesn`t want to make his boy choose the tigers over the panthers.
    2 There`s more money at the panthers, better set up and more potential for success. 3 Blood runs thicker than water always, and lets not kid anyone money talks and everything else is well…….bull dust. But here is a good opportunity for Ivan to teach firstly his boy and the league community something about ethics in life.

  10. Disappointing this whole situation for fans of both Clubs. Personally, i hope Ivan remains at the Tigers. Understand the Father/Son component in this too i just hope it is sorted asap.

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