Cleary has ‘unfinished business’ at Panthers
THE Penrith Panthers have formally announced Ivan Cleary as their head coach for the next five seasons beginning in 2019.
Cleary will end his three year contract at Wests Tigers one season early to link up with son Nathan at the foot of the mountains.
Cleary returns to Penrith after being sacked in 2015 following an underwhelming four seasons that saw the side reach the finals on just one occasion.
The Panthers released a statement on Monday confirming the appointment, with Cleary indicating 'unfinished business' as the primary reason for his return.
"I am honoured to be back as head coach of Panthers and very much look forward to being part of the future journey," Cleary said.
"Personally I had a feeling of unfinished business with a club and a community that my family and I enjoy a strong connection with, from grassroots through to NRL players, staff and management.
"We have raised our family in the community for a number of years and are proud to call it home."
Cleary failed to lead the Tigers to a finals berth in his short stint with the club, however the rebuilt squad showed plenty of promise to finish ninth in the 2018 season.
"I am very fond of Wests Tigers and all its people," he said.
"I enjoyed my time there and it is a club heading in the right direction.
"I would like to thank Justin Pascoe and Marina Go for their professionalism throughout."
Interim head coach Cameron Ciraldo - who took charge of Penrith in this year's finals series - and retired hooker Peter Wallace have been named as assistant coaches.
Penrith return to pre-season training on the 12th of November.