Wayne Bennet wants to coach beyond 2019, the final year of his agreement with the Brisbane Broncos.
Ivan Cleary clearly wants away from the Tigers, most probably to enjoy the opportunity of coaching his son Nathan at the Penrith Panthers.
We are not certain beyond doubt of how Nathan would feel about having dad as his boss.
“Score fewer than three tries and you’re grounded.”
We know that we would not want to have our dearly departed father as our writing coach, what with all the insistence of proper spelling, grammar, and all those other nuisances.
Cleary is contracted with Wests until the end of 2020. He did all right with them over two seasons, roughly the same as he did with Penrith over four campaigns, but not quite as well as he did over six seasons with the NZ Warriors.
The Tigers would part ways with Cleary if they could secure Bennett or Michael Maguire.
Where do the Tigers players fit into the equation?
Benji Marshall seems mainly ambivalent. In his view, he would be okay with Ivan signing now to take over in Penrith in 2021.
“Being a dad I understand that, wanting to coach your son,” Marshall told AAP. “And I think he wants to coach his son because he wants to take the decision out of Nathan’s hands, so Nathan doesn’t have to leave his mates at the club where he is at. If Ivan feels he can take that pressure off Nathan, he feels like he is doing his son a favour too.”
Wests supporters are not eager to see the back of Cleary. He has turned the club around to a significant degree since coming over in 2017. The Tigers finished 15th in 2015 and ninth in 2016.
They slipped back to 14th in 2017 and returned to ninth at the end of the 2018 season, so it is not as though Cleary was an actual saviour and not that much better than his predecessor Jason Taylor, but he does seem to have Wests moving in the right direction.