Ivan Cleary cut his stay at the Tigers short to return to the Panthers.
Ivan Cleary cut his stay at the Tigers short to return to the Panthers.

Tigers’ legend slams Cleary move

DISGUSTED by the NRL coaching merry-go-round, Balmain great Tim Brasher has still backed new Wests Tigers mentor Michael Maguire to spark the joint venture - if he sticks around.

Brasher slammed NRL coaches for changing teams "like they change their undies" but hoped Maguire was committed to seeing out his three-year Tigers deal and making a difference as Ivan Cleary's replacement.

Cleary has earned the ire of Tigers fans after seeking a release from the final two years of his deal at the joint venture to reunite with Penrith in 2019 on a five-season contract.

The move came amid an extraordinary period of coaching changes, with New Zealand mentor Maguire snared by the Tigers, Brisbane's Wayne Bennett linking with South Sydney from 2020 in a swap with the Rabbitohs' Anthony Seibold and Des Hasler returning to Manly.

Brasher tipped big things for the Tigers under Maguire but hoped the South Sydney premiership-winning mentor was determined to hang around and inspire the joint venture after the Cleary debacle.

"As long as he wants to be there, that is the main thing," Brasher told AAP when asked about Maguire.

"The bottom line is if you don't want to be there, if you are not happy, then it's no good for anyone.

"But if you are passionate about the place and want to stay and make a difference then you can do just that."

Brasher hit out at Cleary's move after Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe called for the NRL to curb coach poaching.

Pascoe wanted to adopt a system where coaches can only be approached by rivals when off contract, just like players, after admitting the Tigers felt betrayed by Cleary's departure.

The topic is expected to be discussed at the NRL CEOs meeting next month.

"These days they change teams like they change their undies even if they have a contract for another few years," Brasher said of NRL coaches.

"I don't agree with it. I believe if you sign a contract, you honour that contract and do your best when you are there.

"I don't like the state of play at the moment.

"What does it teach the kids? To be able to get out of a contract is disgusting."

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