Ivan Cleary has reportedly agreed terms with his former NRL club Penrith and will join the Panthers as coach from 2021.
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Jamal Idris’ 18-month rugby league sabbatical is officially over with the Wests Tigers announcing the signing of the former Australian international and New South Wales representative.
The 26-year-old wrecking ball has signed a one-year deal with the joint venture after voluntarily stepping away from the game to travel the globe and come to terms with personal issues. During his travels, he opened an orphanage in Ghana and survived a kidnapping attempt in Vietnam. Now, a gruelling pre-season will seem tame in comparison.
“There’s no better way to get back into it then to get stuck into training, and I’m improving a lot every week. I’m just hoping to do it now week in and week out,” Idris said.
“This Club has a great history and supporter base, and I can’t wait to meet and get to know so many more fans.”
The 2009 Dally M Rookie of the Year has already amassed 131 NRL games across three clubs, the Panthers, Titans and the club he made his debut within 2008, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Idris’ signing has several potential ramifications.
Talented utility forward Elijah Taylor joined the Tigers as a mid-season transfer from Penrith and became an immediate hit with fans and clubmates. But, he is still yet to be formally offered a contract by the joint venture.
The Tigers had planned the cap space freed by the release of Robbie Farah and Mania Cherington to offer Taylor an extension but Idris’ signing could affect this move.
There have also been rumours circulating that incumbent right centre Kevin Naiqama was being shopped to the Super League. Naiqama is reportedly entertaining the move, and if he were to leave, it’s likely the Tigers would find the necessary funds to retain the services of Taylor.
The signing also helps to bolster the Tigers depth in the outside backs following the departure of cult-figure Joshua Addo-Carr to the Melbourne Storm.
Idris’ size and strength will help to sure up the brittle edge defence that has plagued the Tigers the past few seasons.
Tigers coach Jason Taylor believed that having a player of Idris’ experience and natural ability would be a great addition to the Club’s first-grade squad in 2017.
“We’re really looking forward to having Jamal join us ahead of the 2017 season,” Taylor said.
“He brings a lot of size and strength to our outside backs which is something that we identified that needed to be improved on for the coming year.
“Jamal has played the game at the highest level and comes to Wests Tigers with a lot to prove,” he said.
“He’s been working hard over the last couple of weeks to ensure that he’s ready for the start of pre-season and he’s incredibly motivated to get back into the game, and we’re really happy that he’s decided to do it with us.”
The signing of Idris is the second signing the joint venture has made this month after former Sharks backup hooker Matt McIlwrick joined the club on a one-year deal.