Cleary dismisses Panthers speculation as he pledges future to Tigers
Ivan Cleary reaffirmed his commitment to see out his Wests Tigers contract after Penrith Panthers attempted to the poach the head coach.
Cleary has been heavily linked with a return to Penrith - where he was sacked in 2015 - after Anthony Griffin was sensationally axed by the Panthers just four weeks out from the NRL finals.
But the 47-year-old, who is contracted to the Tigers until 2020, dismissed the speculation as he addressed the media with a prepared statement on Saturday.
Cleary, though, reiterated his desire to work with son and star playmaker Nathan - who plays for the Panthers.
"I am privileged to be a part of this journey & respect the contract I have with Wests Tigers. I respect all of the people & supporters involved with the club & I intend to honour this contract"-- Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) August 11, 2018
Read Ivan Cleary's full statement: https://t.co/qz8cFj9clEpic.twitter.com/Qai1CxD0YC
"I have been very disappointed with the amount of misinformation surrounding myself and my family this week," Cleary said.
"I intend to make this statement to clarify my position and following this statement I will not be taking any questions on the matter.
"When I was approached by the Panthers, initially I had no idea that it was about coaching at the club. I was told at that meeting that the club were looking at the future of the head coach position.
"I advised the Panthers of my ongoing contract statues with the Wests Tigers. I subsequently advised the Chair and CEO of the Wests Tigers of the discussions I had with the Panthers. I was as surprised as anyone on the announcement of the dismissal of Anthony Griffin.
"I have not received any offer from the Panthers, nor have I asked the Wests Tigers for a release. I am enjoying my contribution to the growth of this club.
"Everyone associated with this club should be proud of the direction it is heading in. I am privileged to be a part of this journey and respect the contract I have with Wests Tigers. I respect all of the people, and supporters involved with this club, and I intend to honour this contract.
"It is common knowledge that my son Nathan and I have acknowledged our desire to work together at some time. That remains the case.
"Today I am absolutely focused on our match with Canberra and am now happy to take any questions on Sunday's game."