Ivan Cleary’s return to Penrith is complete after the NRL club confirmed his appointment as head coach on a five-year deal in a move which should all but end the NRL’s coaching merry-go-round.
The deal for the former Tigers and Warriors coach will see him join play-making son Nathan at the Panthers after Ivan secured a release from the final two years of his contract at the Wests Tigers.
Having only joined the Tigers in 2017 after being shown the door at the foot of the mountains, the move back to the club comes as a surprising one, but it will allow him the chance to coach his son.
The contract will line up with the end of Nathan’s contract, after the exciting half also re-signed with the club earlier this year.
Ivan said in a statement that he has unfinished business at the club.
“Personally I had a feeling of unfinished business with a club and a community that my family and I enjoy a strong connection with, from grassroots through to NRL players, staff and management,” Cleary said in a statement.
The move brings to an end the NRL’s shipment of coaching changes over the off-season just weeks away from the start of pre-season training for most clubs.
By the time it’s all said and done, Des Hasler has replaced Trent Barrett at the Sea Eagles, Cleary has replaced Cameron Ciraldo at the Panthers, Michael Maguire has replaced Cleary at the Tigers and the chance of Anthony Seibold and Wayne Bennett doing a swap for 2019 is still up in the air after the duo signed contracts with the Broncos and Rabbitohs respectively from 2020 onwards.