Lies, corporate speak and audacious coach poaching

AJ Mithen Columnist

By AJ Mithen, AJ Mithen is a Roar Expert

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    So all the ‘Penrith in crisis’ rumours were true, and Phil Gould is happily mounting another stuffed NRL coach in his trophy display cabinet.

    Anthony Griffin is gone, albeit with a hefty wad of cash in his back pocket – his agent is gunning for the full payout of what he’s owed and who can blame him?

    Cameron Ciraldo will take the reins for the last month of the season and whatever finals matches Penrith play.

    Things don’t stop there though, not by a long shot. Not content with dynamiting their own setup, the Panthers have dragged the Wests Tigers into this by making a pass at their coach, Ivan Cleary, as his club fights for an unlikely eighth place.

    According to reports, Penrith have met with Cleary and tabled a four-year deal.

    That meeting would have been around the same time Ivan Cleary faced the press, said he loved it at the Tigers and that “it’s a long road, a tough road, but you can get there, as long as everyone’s on the same journey”.

    After months of denial, distraction and obfuscation, Gould finally let slip some truth this week.

    “He (Griffin) was a little old school, wanting to do everything himself, and in the modern day it has to be a collaborative process,” Gould said.

    “People will come up with reasons why we shouldn’t have made this decision but our reasons were strong. I wanted to let him know straight away, his position was untenable with things going the way they are now at the club.”

    Gould has understandably copped heavy criticism this week for his public pronouncements during the year in defence of Griffin while attacking the media.

    Phil Gould talks with Peter Wallace on the field.

    Phil Gould has denied he’s been pulling the strings at Penrith. (Photo: Tony Feder/Getty Images)

    I’m not as hot on that as many others are. He said what he needed to say to get the attention away from his team, like any good general manager should. I’m not going to spray him for doing what anyone else in his situation would do.

    Griffin’s ‘old school’ approach seems to be a common theme with his detractors. If that’s the cause of friction, then it’s fair enough to make a move.

    The coach was apparently too structured, too rigid and not suited to his roster or their own desires to be freed for expansive, ad lib football.

    Only thing is, other than the 2005 Wests Tigers, I can’t think of a recent premier who did it on expansive, ad lib football. If you want to win the title these days you’ll need to outgrind Cronulla, get dirty in the trenches against the Roosters and the Storm, and be able to withstand wave after wave of buffeting from South Sydney.

    Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe is talking tough, telling members, “We’re not going to let anyone come in and just poach our coach without a fight and we’re going to fight tooth and nail to keep Ivan. We’re not going to release him.”

    Sorry, Tigers fans – that’s nothing but smoke. What Pascoe really means is that your club won’t be letting Cleary go without getting full compensation for their investment.

    Ivan Cleary NRL Rugby League Wests Tigers 2017

    Can Ivan Cleary help Wests Tigers move onto a brighter future? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    You want Cleary? Pay out his contract. You can afford it.

    Pascoe’s chequered history at the foot of the mountains is an interesting subplot here, too.

    Pascoe bailed on Penrith in 2015 when, after just one year as the head of rugby league, he walked out the door of the Panthers Academy and strolled right into Concord Oval as the Tigers’ new CEO.

    Moves like that are hardly surprising in the upper levels of sports administration, but you can guarantee Gould and the Panthers board of directors won’t have forgotten, and they wouldn’t feel a shred of guilt about putting the hard word on Cleary while he’s still got two-and-a-half years on his contract.

    And what of Ivan Cleary in all of this?

    His coaching record is patchy at best, a mix of poor seasons, stirring finals runs, rebuilds and clean outs for a winning return of 48 per cent (for the record, Griffin’s winning percentage is 56%).

    Just three years ago, Gould sent Cleary packing after Penrith finished 11th one year removed from a preliminary final appearance.

    Much like Griffin, Cleary was punted after a year heavily affected by injuries to star players.

    He shook himself off and set about rebuilding the Tigers, clearing the decks and restoring faith and hope among the members who are 100 per cent ‘on the bus’ with him.

    Cleary doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who would junk all the hard work he’s done and put his reputation at risk without considerable thought.

    But the chance to coach his son, Nathan, is too hard to pass up.

    Tigers fans were expecting the club to make a huge play for Nathan Cleary so he could play under his father. They’re well within their rights to be angry at Pascoe and board chairperson Marina Go for not anticipating this play or not acting faster to head it off.

    Where does this leave Wests? If Cleary is as gone, as the rumour mill suggests, do Pascoe and Go have the nous to pull off a similarly audacious move? I’m not convinced.

    It’s an incredibly high-stakes move from Gould and the Panthers board when the club is a realistic chance for a top-four finish this season. Aside from costing them millions of dollars in payouts and contracts, now anything less than a premiership during the new coach’s tenure is failure.

    Do I like it though? You bet.

    Although I feel for Griffin, I do love it when someone has the courage to make a bold move and wrong-foot everyone. The payoff potential is enormous.

    But I can say that, because I’ve got no skin in this game. I’ll leave it to Panthers fans to say whether they’re as enthused about this as I am.

    Massive pressure is now on the next coach, the players and most definitely on Gould. How long can he stretch out a five-year plan without ultimate success before he gets sent packing himself?

    Remember though, this is rugby league and this is the NRL. For all we think we know right now, Wayne Bennett or Nathan Brown could turn up alongside Gus at a press conference this week.

    Ivan and Nathan Cleary might show up at Brisbane, as a few journos are convinced.

    Hell, maybe Gus will finally stop pretending to be hands-off and announce himself as Penrith’s new coach.

    AJ Mithen
    AJ Mithen

    AJ watches far too much sport. When he's not watching it, he's reading about it. When he's not reading about it, he's writing about it and when he's not writing about it, he's talking about it on the podcast ‘A Sporting Discussion’. Rugby league has AJ's heart, but he loves to give space to the sports that the mainstream forgets - he’ll never rest until Australian baseball gets the coverage it deserves! He’s always game for a debate in a comments section or on twitter @AJMithen - but you’d best come prepared!

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    The Crowd Says (156)

    • August 8th 2018 @ 7:50am
      Paul said | August 8th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      How can you say you love it, AJ? This “move” as you call it by Gould and co is an act of a coward. He and the Club didn’t have the guts to fix the problem themselves by waiting till the end of the season and approaching out of contract coaches, etc, but decided to put this onto the Tigers, who are still a long shot for the finals.

      On what basis does the Tigers have to give up Cleary? They have a legally binding contract, plus Cleary is putting his reputation on the line. If he decides he wants to break his contract, who’d hire him if he turns out to be a dud at Penrith? I’d hope my Dragons wouldn’t go near him if he did that because he’d have shown he has no loyalty or respect for any Club he’d coach.

      I just hope the Tigers, some time soon, publicly come out with a counter offer to buy Nathan Cleary. He’s off contract in a year and Benji’s not getting any younger. They also need to throw the ball back into Gould and co’s court, making them scramble to keep him, not the other way around.

      You called this “move” by Penrith audacious. If you mean “showing an impudent lack of respect”, you’re right. Gould and co have shown the Rugby League world they care only about themselves and if I was a Penrith fan, I’d be ashamed at their actions.

      • August 8th 2018 @ 8:16am
        Peeko said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        It not cowardice, it’s bold and daring. Realizing that that squad isn’t performing to its full ability they made a tough call and put pressure on themselves

      • Roar Guru

        August 8th 2018 @ 8:23am
        BA Sports said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Wait so it is a coward move if Penrtih approach Ivan while he is on contract, but it has been okay for the Tigers to approach Nathan who is also still on contract…?

        At least Penrith have been up front, not scuttling around in the background doing their wheeling and dealing over the family dinner table.

        Remember when it was Farah’s fault and Woods fault and Tedesco’s fault that Taylor left, and Management was no where to be seen or heard. At least Gould shows leadership.

        • August 8th 2018 @ 8:46am
          Fred said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          “Not scuttling arond in the background” – you’re kidding?

          There’s a world of difference between potentially signing a player for the future and trying to take a team’s coach at a critical moment of the season.

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 9:45am
            BA Sports said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            Really? I don’t see a great deal of difference. The Tigers have been – for at least a month – chasing the on contract NSW Origin Halfback and lynch pin of the Panthers team for the next 10 years. They even let their coach, his father come out and say he wanted Nathan. You just think it is different because your eyes are black and gold and, like many, you probably have an indifference to Phil Gould (the bit that is understandable as he is opinionated), so it is easy to be up in arms.

            It’s Ivan Cleary. Ivan…

        • Roar Pro

          August 8th 2018 @ 3:30pm
          Davico said | August 8th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

          Big difference is the Tigers are barred from offering Nathan a contract as he is a player where as for some reason Penrith are allowed to go after a contracted coach.

          Don’t let the facts get in the way though BA

        • August 10th 2018 @ 12:45am
          KiwiBear said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:45am | ! Report

          Appproaching a player to see if he wants to come across when his contract ends at the end of next season is what West’s Tigers are doing. And what Penrith are doing is poaching a newly signed coach with the rest of this season and 3 more to run on his contract with the end game of keeping the Nathan the wonder kid. Totally not the same thing. Points off Penrith!

      • Columnist

        August 8th 2018 @ 8:34am
        AJ Mithen said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Paul, each and every club’s fans only care about themselves and their club’s situation. I doubt many Panthers fans would be ashamed if this comes off and fairly or unfairly, the Tigers have to act just as decisively or they risk losing years of work.

        And I respectfully disagree – waiting for the season to play out when they know they’ve got a bad situation is the weaker option. Gould – and by extension the Board – have all put themselves on the line with this decision and they know it.

        • Roar Guru

          August 8th 2018 @ 8:59am
          Andrew Jackson said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          Great article AJ and 100% agree with you. People are making it out like this is some evil and unethical thing to do. Give me a break. If Penrith genuinely want Cleary back, they’re not gonna wait until the end of the year. That just gives the Tigers the upperhand and the chance to re-sign Cleary. To a similar extent, it’d give the Tigers more power to convince Nathan to come over. Ultimately it’s Ivan’s choice, he has all the power here.

          • Roar Pro

            August 8th 2018 @ 9:12am
            A View From the Top said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

            I think it’s been handled well. Griffin was hooked what yesterday and by today we have Penrith confirming they’ve offered Cleary a 4 year contract. Everything above board with the public aware of the requisite hoops that need to be jumped through for any deal to materialise.

            • August 8th 2018 @ 11:03am
              Wayne Turner said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

              Handled well – ha,ha,ha….

              Paying a now ex-coach for 2 years and a month to do nothing.

              Sacking said ex-coach a month before the semi’s,with the club going well.

              Paying over’s to try to get back a coach they previously had.

              More like a mess.

          • August 8th 2018 @ 9:45am
            Paul said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            So what their doing is right and correct, Mr X? You have to be kidding.

            The Tigers don’t need to re-sign Cleary, he’s locked up for another 2 years, though I do agree it comes down to what Ivan decides.

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 10:23am
            Renegade said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

            Penrith clearly said they didn’t want Ivan 3 years ago…. now all of a sudden they do – yeah right?!

            It’s obvious, this is just to secure Nathan…. if I was a Penrith fan, I wouldn’t be comfortable with this at all… I reckon they’ll be even further away from a premiership.

            • Columnist

              August 8th 2018 @ 10:35am
              AJ Mithen said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              There certainly is that, Renegade…

              • Roar Guru

                August 8th 2018 @ 10:55am
                Renegade said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

                Absolutely AJ.

                Ivan would be silly to take this offer as an individual… he would be risking his own integrity and tainting himself for future opportunities.

                Gus isn’t worried about integrity because he doesn’t really have much… there’s an example of him contradicting himself multiple times over a two hour broadcast twice a week.

                If I was Ivan there’s no way I’d be going back, knowing the guy chasing him didn’t want him but now knows that he may lose Nathan due to the father-son relationship unless he brings Ivan back…. the Cleary’s are in a position of power – the Panthers need them however they don’t need the Panthers.

              • Roar Guru

                August 8th 2018 @ 12:24pm
                The Barry said | August 8th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                That’s my take too Renegade.

                Three years ago Ivan had to be released because he wasn’t good enough. Now Gould is encouraging him to break a contract and come back.

                I get this is a play to get Ivan to keep Nathan but seems pretty high risk to re-employ a coach you sacked to keep a player. The idea that Nath and Ivan want to be together must be pretty strong.

                But what’s in it for Ivan? He’ll come out of this not looking great if he leaves the Tiges to go back to Penrith.

                Is Gould looking to sign Ivan, then sign Nathan to a long term deal, then sack Ivan?

                Gould doesn’t look great either particularly after his smug “if Nathan wants to play with Ivan I won’t stand in his way” comments from a fortnight ago.

                As you say I don’t think he’s too worried about his credibility…

              • Columnist

                August 8th 2018 @ 12:56pm
                AJ Mithen said | August 8th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

                “Is Gould looking to sign Ivan, then sign Nathan to a long term deal, then sack Ivan?”
                If Gould did this Baz I think even the strongest of Gus’ fans would walk away.

              • August 8th 2018 @ 4:23pm
                Gray-Hand said | August 8th 2018 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

                Are we even completely convinced that Nathan Cleary is really that good of a halfback?

              • Roar Guru

                August 8th 2018 @ 4:34pm
                Emcie said | August 8th 2018 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                You don’t understand grey-hand, he’s just so… um…. composed?

              • Roar Guru

                August 8th 2018 @ 4:43pm
                The Barry said | August 8th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

                You guys are singing to the choir.

                I think he’s got a huge amount of potential and he’s shown that he can deliver but he’s a long way from being there yet.

                Jason Martin was killing it at a similar stage of his career.

                Cleary hasn’t released a single yet…

            • August 8th 2018 @ 11:04am
              Wayne Turner said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

              Spot on. If Gould and Penrith had a clue they would never have sacked Ivan. Clearly making it up as they go badly.

              • Roar Guru

                August 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm
                BA Sports said | August 8th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

                What is the rationale there? Because Ivan has gone on to do bigger and better things? He hasn’t. Your logic should be, that Gould should never have signed Cleary in the first place.

                I saw it repeated here yesterday how Gould had a 5 year plan that was stretching on beyond that. So he is under pressure, which granted he put on himself, to deliver and he is trying things to make that happen. Cleary wasn’t going to bring him a premiership so he tried someone else and it didn’t work out.

              • August 9th 2018 @ 9:21am
                Jacko said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

                BA it worked better than having Cleary there…..griffins results are far better than Cleary’s and griffin has not walked out on previous contracts…Cleary has…even attempting to blackmail the Warriors into “either extend my contract or I am out of here” BS……..Cleary already has no credibility as a decent honest person so may as well be the rogue he is when ever it suits his agenda….Then after more failures he will be an assistant to a decent honest first grade coach one day

            • August 8th 2018 @ 1:10pm
              Albo said | August 8th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              As a Panthers fan, I can tell you I am no great fan of Gus Gould. He has more than once dumped all over the Panthers Club, mostly for self interest, over more than two decades. But despite my disagreeing with the dumping of Ivan Cleary and appointment of Griffin, and then Gus’ inability to sort out the issues with Moylan who was to be the Club’s future, now walking away from a retention of Nathan Cleary without a serious fight, would be totally irresponsible of Gus and the Panthers Club. If the only thing stopping Nathan from being the long term game manager of the Panthers is a desire to be coached by his dad, well I think the Panthers should do all they can to make that happen. In this day and age where an NRL contract is virtually meaningless, and club loyalty is long gone from both Club and player perspective, it is now simply a sellers market. Gus knows that. Ivan knows that. If the deal suits all parties now, they will make it happen. Ivan need have no loyalty to the Tigers with their track record of loyalty to coaches ! Ivan could be dumped by the Tigers next year as quick as Potter or Taylor ! Ivan knows that and will make the decision that best suits him and his kid now.

              • August 8th 2018 @ 6:44pm
                elvis said | August 8th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

                Are you out of your mind? Who would spend a MILLION bucks to sack a coach and keep a guy who wants to be coached by his dad? Cleary hasn’t DONE anything yet, to me he looks like the next Jason Taylor, no running threat so his backs always start handicapped. Paired up with Malony who is the same, I can tell you why the backline doesn’t function against top teams.

        • August 8th 2018 @ 10:00am
          Paul said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Sorry AJ, I’ve been supporting the Dragons for well over 40 years but feel strongly about this from a Tigers perspective. If Cleary was off contract at the end of the season, by all means chase him, but the timing of this from a Tigers view point is appalling.

          ” waiting for the season to play out when they know they’ve got a bad situation is the weaker option”. They created this problem by deciding to review a team mid season and sacking their coach with 4 rounds to go. Why is waiting a weak option? Cleary is under contract and there’s no way he’s going to be released this year, if at all?

          This piece of stupidity is a lose, lose lose, if Ivan Cleary does move on. The Tigers lose a coach they put their faith in (as did many players), Cleary is under enormous pressure to deliver a premiership, having sacrificed his integrity along the way, while Gould and co have put all their eggs in one basket because of move that appears to have been instigated by Gould only.

          I hope the Panthers win the premiership this year, now that Gould an co have created this mess. Griffin would have been vindicated, though I doubt Gould and co would have the class to acknowledge his contribution

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 10:54am
            Andrew Jackson said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            Just to clarify I don’t even want Cleary as my first preference. But it shouldn’t matter if he is under contract… when does it ever count anymore?

            If Cleary is staying he should come out and say so himself.

            • Roar Rookie

              August 8th 2018 @ 11:14am
              Bunney said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              Mr X,

              I liked your option of Freddy Fitler. Just until the end of the year. Short term, to try and get them the premiership.
              Long term I don’t think he’s the answer, but for a 5 – 8 week stint? Could be beautiful

              • August 8th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                Albo said | August 8th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                Gus has already got that job !

        • Roar Pro

          August 8th 2018 @ 3:32pm
          Davico said | August 8th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

          Apart from the fact that the Tigers can be fined and at worst lose competition points for approaching Nathan!!!!!

    • August 8th 2018 @ 8:01am
      sheek said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      The only person Ivan Cleary has to answer to is his himself, his own conscience.

      The picture you’ve painted is that all the main players are tainted with faulty DNA, a very human trait. The question is whether Cleary is capable of rising above that & remaining true to his values.

      Although his values might be like most everyone else & follow the money trail…..

      • August 8th 2018 @ 8:58am
        Kenw said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        I would actually assume that Cleary wouldn’t be super-hot about returning to the Panthers. Considering his unceremonious dumping, and the need to break contract and leave a job half done at the Tigers, he’d probably be inclined to stick around. Money talks of course but you would think the offer

        Of course the gold-plated carrot is Nathan. They’ve both talked openly about the wish to work together, and Ivan would know that it’s probably safer for the younger Cleary, at this stage of his development, to stay put at Penrith. That’s likely enough to out-weigh the other points.

    • Roar Guru

      August 8th 2018 @ 8:27am
      BA Sports said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      We’re not talking about Jack Gibson here. Ivan Cleary (291 games) would have to become the first to win his first premiership after coaching 250 games.

      I get the Tigers have had a coaching merry-go-round, but other than that your coach is average. If you could get rid of Ivan and pick up (say) Madge wouldn’t you be happy? That is a huge upgrade.

      • Roar Guru

        August 8th 2018 @ 8:54am
        Con Scortis said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        That’s an interesting stat BA (has no coach one after coaching 250 games?).

        I can’t see Madge at the Panthers, though. Given that Griffin is “apparently too structured, too rigid and not suited to his roster or their own desires to be freed for expansive, ad lib football”, it would be odd to see Madge at the foot of the mountain, given he is the most structured and rigid coach around.

        • Roar Guru

          August 8th 2018 @ 8:59am
          BA Sports said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          To clarify no coach has won their first premiership after coaching 250 games. Smith and Murray are the only coaches to have coached more games than Ivan and never won.

          I can’t see Madge at Penrith either. But why wouldn’t Tigers fans want him instead of Cleary? He is proven and he has won. My point is it might actually be a good thing to get out of a contract with a below average coach.

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 9:36am
            Con Scortis said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

            Yeah I knew what you meant, I just never heard that stat before – it’s a good one.

            Also to clarify my typo above: I meant “has no coach won”, not “has no coach one!!” Or maybe I meant “has no coach won one”.

          • August 8th 2018 @ 10:07am
            Paul said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

            thanks for that stat BA, didn’t know that.

          • August 8th 2018 @ 1:22pm
            Albo said | August 8th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

            Not sure that stat has any great relevance to Cleary. He has only ever previously been a coach employed to rebuild hopeless causes . He hasn’t ever been given a top side to coach. Smith & Murray had a few such teams. Cleary for the first time , now has a chance to coach a serious contender , at a strong Club with his son running the show on the field. Ticks all the boxes for Ivan’s goals I would think ?

            • August 9th 2018 @ 9:29am
              Jacko said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

              Albo the so called “strong club” was 1 of the hopeless case clubs he was supposed to rebuild….Some OTHER coach rebuilt it in his absence…now Gus sacks the guy who built up the club to bring in a guy already sacked by the club for not being good enough…..i guess they believe that he is doing so wonderful at the Tigers he will be successful but to me you never sack a coach doing great things and getting the best results the club has had for years

        • August 9th 2018 @ 4:16pm
          Joe said | August 9th 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

          No way in the world would I view Madge as an upgrade. Cleary’s stats don’t paint the full picture as he’s had to rebuild the three clubs from a state of disarray, and each club he’s been at has improved. He also had a shocking run of bad luck with injuries at Penrith in the season where Gus sacked him.

      • Roar Guru

        August 8th 2018 @ 9:07am
        Rellum said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        It is more about keeping Nathan though isn’t it, rather getting Ivan?

        • August 8th 2018 @ 2:40pm
          Wayne Turner said | August 8th 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          It’s only about keeping Nathan.

      • Columnist

        August 8th 2018 @ 11:32am
        AJ Mithen said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        Hell of a stat BA!

    • August 8th 2018 @ 8:34am
      Fred said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      The lack of respect shown to the Wests Tigers club, players and fans by both parties is disgusting. What a disgrace. Ben Matulino moved his family to Australia for Cleary – what must he think?

      The Panthers and Cleary should both be ashamed. Gould, as a public figure of the game, should be charged by the NRL with bringing the game into disrepute. As a Tigers fan I guarantee this will turn way more fans away from the NRL than Todd Carney getting up to a bit of mischief ever could.

      • Roar Guru

        August 8th 2018 @ 8:40am
        BA Sports said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        And what should happen to the Tigers for approaching Nathan – the Panthers halfback?
        And what should happen to the Tigers for starting this ball rolling by letting their coach come out publicly to say he wanted Nathan – the Panthers halfback. None of this probably happens if Ivan doesn’t come out publicly and start this noise. The Tigers track record of mis-management is far more detrimental to the league.

        • August 8th 2018 @ 9:54am
          Kramer said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Have the tigers approached Cleary? Who approached him and when? I thought gould stated if Cleary wanted to go to the Tigers go be with his father he wouldnt stop him, so therefore feel free to talk to him…or is that Gould playing the long game and being diplomatic knowing he is going to shaft the Tigers and never hand the intention of letting younger Cleary go? Not a Tigers supporter but you Penrith fans playing the victims crack me up! Chest pumping and all!!!

          • Roar Rookie

            August 8th 2018 @ 2:16pm
            Robert Szemeti said | August 8th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

            Gus said if nathan wants to play with ivan, he won’t stand in his way
            No one mentioned the tigers
            Everyone assumes,
            3 coaches last year got punted
            Finally someone can leave without being punted on their terms,

        • August 8th 2018 @ 11:56am
          Longjohn said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          I think you should choose your words wisely. Who exactly from the Tigers have approached Nathan?
          Ivan and Tigers management saying they want Nathan is not “approaching” Nathan.

          Open your eyes. Gus has just sacked their coach weeks before his team plays finals footy. He has offered a contract to a contracted coach with 2.5 years left. This is will have a far worse effect on the NRL

        • August 9th 2018 @ 4:25pm
          Joe said | August 9th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          I have no idea how you can possibly think it’s the Tiger’s fault for getting the ball rolling and ‘letting’ Ivan publicly declare they are trying to poach Nathan. This is completely untrue. You sound like Paul Kent. Just making things up to support your point of view. Ivan has been constantly been pressed by hack journos all year about whether or not he’d like to coach his son one day. All he ever did was give an honest answer of ‘yes.’ The tigers had nothing to do with that.

        • August 10th 2018 @ 1:11am
          KiwiBear said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:11am | ! Report

          Who says that Wests Tigers even approached Cleary?
          Clearly they maybe looking at doing it on 1st of November.
          As it stands now what you have is 1 son and parent/s discussing it (maybe?) There is no law against the family, and I would imagine Mrs Cleary has an opinion too, discussing all the possible scenarios.
          Tigers have done nothing untoward. Penrith orchestrating things to their benefit. That club is 1 or to bad moves away from imploding and if this goes south implode they will!

      • Roar Guru

        August 8th 2018 @ 9:01am
        Andrew Jackson said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        The most ridiculous comment I have seen posted on the site in a long time. You have got to be kidding. They are doing nothing illegal. If anything it’s the media’s fault for going on about this. The Panthers may want Cleary but what do you expect them to do? Roll over and just let the Tigers have them? Gus isn’t forcing Cleary to do anything, it is on him.

        • August 8th 2018 @ 9:35am
          Chui said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          That you’re aware of.

          Is inducing someone to break a contract not illegal?

          • August 8th 2018 @ 6:50pm
            Gray-Hand said | August 8th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

            Not illegal in the sense that it is a crime, but you can sue for it. Such law suits are pretty uncommon though because it is often hard to provide sufficient evidence that the person who induced the breach of the contract had the required knowledge and intention.

            That would probably not be much of a problem here though, given that Penrith have been practically openly gloating over how smart they have been.

            • August 10th 2018 @ 1:18am
              KiwiBear said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:18am | ! Report

              @ Gary Hand
              Look up illegal –
              not according to or authorized by law : unlawful, illicit; also : not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)

        • August 8th 2018 @ 10:48am
          Wayne Turner said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

          A novel idea: If Penrith had a clue,they would not have sacked Ivan in the first place.

          Is this you Phil Gould?

      • Roar Pro

        August 8th 2018 @ 9:07am
        A View From the Top said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        The sanctity of contracts coming from a club that had sacked how many coaches in a row pre-Cleary?? Laughable comment.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 8th 2018 @ 9:08am
        souvalis said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Cleary had to pay overs for most of the rebuild including what was an under performing Warrior Matulino for more than $2 million for 3 years…doubt his hearts been broken..

        • Roar Pro

          August 8th 2018 @ 9:14am
          A View From the Top said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Where are the bleeding hearts for players that wanted to play under Sheens, Potter or Taylor?? Oh that doesn’t fitted woe is me narrative.

          • August 8th 2018 @ 1:26pm
            Albo said | August 8th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            Bingo !

          • August 9th 2018 @ 9:37am
            Jacko said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

            Cleary has a history of reneging on his contracts anyway…some people should never be trusted…..Also if the apple does not fall far from the tree who could trust Nathan to see out his contract?

      • Roar Rookie

        August 8th 2018 @ 2:11pm
        Robert Szemeti said | August 8th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        Nepotism, its what made Ivan tired 3 years ago
        You all really think ivan hated gould all this time, why in gods name leave your first born there
        No coincidence Nathan started his 1st grade debut after dad stepped away, Ivan mentioned him being afraid of nepotism on his interview with 360 a few weeks back
        Nathan and the 20s team were smashing teams, ciraldo was coach, gus and ivan knew soon that 20s team would be in 1st grade within a few years, say what ever you like about ivan, but a dad that would take hits for his son, is honourable
        As for Wests Tigers, their board, Pascoe and Marina Go (who btw didnt even know who laurie daley was, the then NSW coach, & canberra legend) are kidding themselves, crying about honouring contracts, when they dudded how many coaches, players and have now been smooth sailling with ivans hard work
        How is he repayed, nope we will not let this golden goose go, especially since we planned to sign Nathan Cleary behind everyones back before November, our fans and STAKEHOLDERS will be needing compo, give me your talent, howzabout good luck coaches are not players, salary caps dont apply,
        And the NRL can only fine any breaches

        Good luck Clearys do whats best for you
        Don’t worry about tigers, the board are all concerned with money, the players are all used to the merry go round that is rugby league
        And Josh Reynolds said it best, he’d be happy to see Ivan happy regardless where he chooses to be, sad about not having as coach
        But happy that he gets what he had worked hard for

        Contracts have never meant anything, its an insurance policy to cover both parties should the worst happen, well pascoe, you got served
        Trying to poach penriths halfback, gus has every right to return serve

        • August 8th 2018 @ 3:12pm
          JoM said | August 8th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

          Well, I guess we will find out all the dirty details on Fox at 6.30 tonight when Griffin is on.

    • August 8th 2018 @ 8:40am
      Christo the Daddyo said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      I know it’s the way of the sporting world these days, but breaking contracts seems way too common for my liking…they’ve essentially become meaningless.

      • Roar Pro

        August 8th 2018 @ 9:05am
        A View From the Top said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        It’s almost like sport is becoming like the rest of the world…

        • August 8th 2018 @ 11:24am
          Bee bee said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          No. Contracts are binding. They are bound by consequences. The consequences vary. Try getting out of a phone contract. Try not paying your mortgage contract. Maybe your tired of fulfilling your rental contract. Breaking a contract is easily done but there are always consequences. Sometimes those consequences are intangible but you will pay one way or another.

          NRL is nothing like the real world. Too many broken contracts are resulting in rewards not consequences.

          • August 8th 2018 @ 11:34am
            Christo the Daddyo said | August 8th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            Well, AVFTT has a point I think. And you’re right too – contracts are paid out in the NRL. Or at least a mutually satisfactory outcome is negotiated between the parties.

            It’s more about the moral point for me – if a (for example) five year contract is commenced, it should be an absolute last resort that that contract isn’t honoured.

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 12:16pm
            The Barry said | August 8th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            The contracts aren’t ‘broken’ though.

            All real world rules still apply. Both parties have to agree.

            You can get out of your phone contract if a) the provider agrees to let you out (haha yeah right or b) you pay out the contract.

            This is exactly what happens in rugby league.

            Ivan Cleary (or Nathan for that matter) won’t just be saying “righto I’ve had a better offer, I’m breaking my contract”

            Just as Penrith will have to pay out Griffen.

            • August 8th 2018 @ 1:56pm
              Jockosaurus said | August 8th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

              How did SBW leave the Doggies again?

              • Roar Rookie

                August 8th 2018 @ 3:11pm
                Robert Szemeti said | August 8th 2018 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Hey i remember when daly cherry evans back flipped on titans
                Or hall of famer Big Gordy tallis decided to sit on the sidelines for a season, gotta luv bennet

                Best one i remember is the dogs paying out des hasler, sounds familiar….

                contracts are a fickle thing, they’re not for the public to decide tho thats what managers are for.
                Each contract is signed by both parties and are either paid out or negotiated futher, its just insurance,
                nathan brown has the right idea, his contract is open ended, genius!
                tigers are screwed here, not because they are about to lose nathan and ivan
                But because they think they’re saints, where’s Potter, Taylor and Sheens now, they’re not head coaching any NRL teams

              • Roar Guru

                August 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm
                The Barry said | August 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

                So SBW is one example.

                And not a very good one just quietly.

                He had to borrow 750K to pay out his contract with the Dogs to avoid legal action.

                Tallis had to sit out a year rather than play elsewhere.

                DCE back flipped prior to 30 June which while maybe immoral was within the rules.

                And the Bulldogs couldn’t just break Hasler’s contract they had a massive payout to end it.

                All of those examples perfectly illustrate that one party can’t just break a contract and walk away…

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 10:02pm
            Bakkies said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

            ‘No. Contracts are binding. They are bound by consequences. The consequences vary. Try getting out of a phone contract. Try not paying your mortgage contract. Maybe your tired of fulfilling your rental contract. Breaking a contract is easily done but there are always consequences. Sometimes those consequences are intangible but you will pay one way or another.’

            Throw in Marriages.

    • August 8th 2018 @ 8:55am
      Bill said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      This must all be quite embarrassing for Nathan. All this fuss over him, he’d wana make sure he performs

      • Roar Pro

        August 8th 2018 @ 3:56pm
        Davico said | August 8th 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

        Great call.

        How much pressure is Nathan going to be under next year if all this goes through?

        Say Panthers miss the 8 and NSW lose the SOO with him as half, or he is not even selected as half?

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