Cleary agrees to Penrith deal: report

WESTS Tigers coach Ivan Cleary has reportedly agreed to a massive deal at the Panthers in a move to place him back at the foot of the mountain in Penrith.

Cleary, who was forced out of the Panthers in 2015, looks set to join his son and star Penrith halfback Nathan at the club from 2021 in reported three-year contract.

The Daily Telegraph's Dean Ritchie broke the news on Thursday night after an anonymous source "close to Penrith" spilt the beans.

"The club and Ivan's management have formally agreed to terms for '21, '22 and '23," the source said.

"It will now be interesting to see what transpires over the next two years of his contract at Wests Tigers.

"There is still a chance Ivan will at Penrith next season. Would you want him at your club if he has signed somewhere else? That's the reality. Penrith isn't in any hurry. Cameron is organising things as we go."

The cat is out of the bag.
The cat is out of the bag.

A Tigers insider revealed mountains would need to move before Cleary was let go of the Wests coaching role.

Wayne Bennett has reportedly been offered to the Wests Tigers, but it's unclear if Bennett would want to take charge of a rebuilding side.

"Wests Tigers have Ivan contacted for the next two years. If circumstances were to change favourably for the club, and they'd have to be pretty favourable, the club's board would probably consider a release for Ivan," the source said.

"If there was a compelling reason to look at an alternative coach then the club would look at it. Until then, Ivan has to coach at Wests Tigers and do a good job."

- Where Penrith stands: Technically they're without a head coach for next year after Anthony Griffin was sacked. Cameron Ciraldo was appointed as caretaker for the final six matches.

- Where Brisbane stands: Wayne Bennett has a contract for 2019, however, the club's board recently knocked back his application for a one-year extension, whichcould trigger his early departure.

Should Bennett choose to go, ex-Souths premiership winner Michael Maguire has been mentioned as a possible replacement. Current Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold is understood to be in the club's sights for 2020.

- with AAP



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