A fearless Dylan Edwards has thrown himself head-first into training following a shoulder reconstruction as he prepares to fight off Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for Penrith’s No.1 jumper.
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Penrith caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo admits he considered walking away under sacked coach Anthony Griffin but is glad he was talked out of it by club boss Phil Gould.
Gould revealed Ciraldo, who has been a Panthers assistant coach for the past five years, twice attempted to resign due to a poor relationship with Griffin.
Speaking for the first time since taking over on Monday, Ciraldo confirmed Gould’s story.
“There were a number of reasons for myself and my development as a coach and what I wanted to do moving forward,” Ciraldo said on Friday.
“I thought at the time was the best thing to do. But I’m glad Gus talked me out of it.”
Ciraldo also hit out at claims from Griffin this week that the Panthers had struggled to develop juniors before his arrival in 2016.
Ciraldo had coached Penrith’s under-20s team to a premiership the year before.
“I was surprised (by those comments) because we’d won a number of titles in the lower grades up until the point that Hook got here,” Ciraldo said.
“There were some really good systems in place there, some people doing a lot of hard work before he’d got here and again, the people in these four walls know about that.
“A lot of the players that are playing first grade now were playing SG Ball in 2013-14, under-20s 2015, so I’m pretty confident we had good systems in place.”
Ciraldo also shied away from the prospect of being a candidate to become the fulltime coach.
The Panthers have been open about their desire to lure Ivan Cleary from the Wests Tigers, three years after sacking him.
“I haven’t had time to think about it,” said Ciraldo, who retired from playing in 2013.
“I feel like I finished playing not that long ago and gone from job to job. Whatever job title I’ve got, I just want what’s in the best interests of this club.”
Ciraldo confirmed prop James Tamou (leg) is out of Saturday’s clash against Gold Coast, who are coached by another former Panthers assistant in Garth Brennan.
Brennan is also believed to have asked for a demotion following his first year under Griffin, moving back to the NSW Cup and leading the Panthers to a premiership in 2017.