Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has spoken to weststigers.com.au about the recent speculation surrounding current coach Ivan Cleary.

Pascoe answered a number of questions on Cleary’s future at the club, and certainly didn’t mince his words.

The full transcript of the interview can be seen below.

Q. Justin, it has been a big 24 hours in NRL coaching circles. Can you give us an update where things are at with Wests Tigers and Ivan Cleary?

A. Sure. So Ivan Cleary came to me late yesterday [Monday] afternoon and informed me in a discussion that he had been approached by Penrith — that they were keen to get him to go out there and coach. We had a really open and frank discussion around that. Since then, we met with Ivan this morning and we were very adamant in that meeting that there is really no option other than to continue on as Head Coach of the Wests Tigers. Certainly, we engaged in a contract nearly 18 months ago now under good faith and we expect that contract uploads and continues on.

Q. So if Ivan does ask for a release, will the club grant that release?

A. No. As we expressed to Ivan this morning, the position of the club — and it’s a really strong position — is that the club is going to fight for this. Under no circumstances will we be granting Ivan Cleary a release. He has got a contract with this club until 2020, we’re building something special here and we want that to continue.

Q. Why wouldn’t the club grant him a release?

A. Because we’re not going to be pushed aside or bullied or railroaded by anyone. This club, and myself, have to make decisions that are in the best interests of the Wests Tigers and, first and foremost, our fans, our Members and our stakeholders. Giving our Head Coach to a rival club is not a decision that is in the best interest of the fans or stakeholders.

Q. It’s been an uncertain day for Wests Tigers Members and fans. Do you have a message for them?

A. I’m really disappointed that they’ve had to go through all the speculation. I’m bitterly disappointed that a rival club has decided that it’s appropriate practice to try and poach a coach with two-and-a-half years left on his contract. My message is very simple: Ivan has been a terrific coach, he has shown great character in what we’re trying to build here and we are going to fight tooth and nail. This is a really strong, proud club with a lot of rich history and it’s a very different club than what it was previously. We’re not going to let anyone come in and just poach our Coach without a fight and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to keep Ivan. We’re not going to release him. The club is a really proud club, as I said, and we’re in a strong position to fight this all the way.


  1. Good on pascoe. A contract should mean a contract. Not always the case these days sadly. Sucko to Big Bully Gould and his grand plans. He shouldnt be allowed to get away with this crap.

  2. Don’t often praise a CEO but good on you Pascoe and shame on you Cleary for even talking to that POS Gould.

  3. Well said Pascoe. We’re trying to honour Cleary, something Penrith couldn’t do 3 years ago and now they come crawling back haha! Not because of his coaching, for his sons sake! Phil Gould can suck it .. Nathan you’re welcome at our club if you want to team up with your dad mate.

  4. What about Jason Taylor and mick potter tigers can’t have there crack and smoke it too…. or are the peoples mind a little forgetful when it suits them

    • Of course people forget that! It’s only wen it suits them that people like to talk about honor and contracts lol

      • Yes BUT Tigers sacked their own coaches. They didnt try an induce someone elses coach to breach their contract. Not the same.

    • Okay so when couldn’t clubs sack coaches who aren’t getting results? Or maybe we should be like Penrith, when we do get a decent coach who gets results we’ll just fire him mid contract or four weeks out from the finals. Not the same thing bud but good try lol

      • It’s not the same thing mate but the principles are exactly the same……

        Sacking a coach regardless if they’re getting results or not is still sacking a coach mid contract

        • We only sacked Taylor with 1 year remaining whereas potter we got rid of after his contract was up.

        • You are an idiot, it’s not even remotely the same. If you hire someone and they don’t perform you sack them. Griffin on the other hand could probably sue for wrongful termination since he has a winning record.

  5. NRL prohibits clubs from even talking to contracted players unless they are in their final year so why should it be any different to poaching coaches?

  6. Why should a club – West Tigers – release a contracted coach -Cleary – to a club that can’t get their act together? Another case of the richer clubs trying to flex their muscles.

    • Panthers “richer clubs” u must be smokin the pipe mate.
      Name another time Panthers have tried to “flex their muscles” as u would call it?

  7. Cleary should just continue on with the Tigers and bring Nathan to the Tigers.
    Panthers need to sort out their own mess. Gould is a good operator, well now its time for him to start operating.

  8. That’s just karma for the Panthers. When they got rid of Cleary for Griffin I couldn’t believe it. As some have said already, it’s just an obvious attempt to get Nathan’s signature. I can’t see Ivan going back even if he was able to get a release. They wouldn’t have to try lure him back if they kept him in the first place.

  9. Pascoe is out of his depth. He knows his hands are tied. Talking the talk but when push comes to shove he will be left on the floor.

    • Gould thinks he’s the man. He’s not. What he’s doing is wrong and manipulative. Clearly would have to be barking mad to go back to Penrith. Penrith ditched him. A lot of people will lose a lot of respect for Ivan if he’s back.

      Gould’s commentary is one sided rubbish. I’m getting foxtel installed today so I don’t have to look at his fat head or listen to his drivel anymore.

  10. I still think Gus is one of the smartest heads in the game, but for the Panthers to sack Griffin and probably pay him out, then try to lure Cleary to the position on overs, and then probably having to pay the Tigers a release seems like very poor business to me. Even as leverage to keep Nathan there. And why would you re-hire a coach you sacked previously because he supposedly didn’t measure up? Added to which, and I may have this bit wrong, coaching and football staff are meant to fall under a salary cap limit in 2020, so that would be even more messy.

    • Well he’s definitely the biggest head! If he was a qlder he could be the cane toad mascot. There is an uncanny likeness.

  11. Typical Gus Gould crap. Jumps up and down, moves players on, sacks coaches and then makes an offer to a coach who is CURRENTLY UNDER CONTRACT to another club.

    Absolute control freak who is into his 47th year of a 5 year plan!!! Clearly the nrl has no balls to pull him into line cause he is clearly trying to get Cleary to break his contract. Well done Tigers, stand up to this maniac and give him $hit!!

    • There was never, ever, a 5 year plan. Also Gus did turn this club around. The Panthers will be entering the finals for the third consecutive year.

Comments are closed.