Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould. Picture: AAP
Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould. Picture: AAP

Gould confirms ‘preferred choice’ as next Panthers coach

PENRITH have received 12 applications overnight following the club's decision to sack coach Anthony Griffin, but the Panthers have their sights set on one man to replace him.

Panthers general manager Phil Gould confirmed the club had a preferred option, but are in no rush to make a decision.

It comes as CEO Brian Fletcher revealed on Tuesday the club has spoken to two current NRL coaches.

The Panthers have started talks with Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary who is understood to be Penrith's No.1 option.

Tigers officials have indicated they expect Cleary to honour the final two seasons of his contract, but it's understood he is seriously weighing up returning to the Panthers to coach his son Nathan.

 

Gould said Griffin's sacking had nothing to do with retaining Nathan Cleary, who is off contract at the end of 2019.

Gould also refused to speculate on coaching candidates.

"We haven't made a decision on who is going to coach the side next year," Gould said.

"We have a preferred choice at this stage, but that is not to mean that is the one we will end up with.

Ivan Cleary is believed to be the preferred choice to coach Penrith.
Ivan Cleary is believed to be the preferred choice to coach Penrith.

"I think we would be a very popular choice for a coach looking for a strong club, a good roster and great facilities.

"I don't think we'll have any trouble finding a coach, but we need to worry about the short term at the moment and that is giving Cam Ciraldo and the coaches all the support."

Gould said Griffin's departure was 12 months in the making.

He said the former Broncos mentor wanted to control the team by himself, but the club wanted a more collaborative approach.

This ultimately cost Griffin his job.

"Anthony is very old school, he likes to do everything himself," Gould said.

Anthony Griffin wanted to control the team by himself.
Anthony Griffin wanted to control the team by himself.

"I think in the modern day, the coach has got to reply on the knowledge and expertise they get from assistants.

"Anthony wanted to control everything and I think that put a lot of pressure on him.

"We just felt that we needed a more communicative approach.

"It was a difficult decision, but we decided last week that we were going to take a change.

"We got the feeling that everything Anthony had brought to the club over the last three years, we've probably seen the best of it.

"With a young group that we want to develop further, we thought we needed a change in coaching philosophy moving forward."



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