Nathan Cleary wants his dad coaching again
Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary knew exactly what awaited him at Tuesday morning's media call following news his father, Ivan, had been linked to the Wests Tigers coaching role.
When asked why he thought so many people had ventured to Penrith's Rugby League Academy, the 19-year-old coolly replied: "Maybe something to do with my dad. I know it's not about me."
When news broke on Monday that Jason Taylor had been sacked by the Wests Tigers, everyone's first thought was Ivan Cleary would be the man most likely to take the job.
While it's all speculation at this stage, Nathan was quick to downplay any notion that he would follow his father should he be appointed by the Tigers.
"I'd say I have a contract at the Panthers and I've got to stick by that," Cleary said when asked how he'd respond to those rumours.
The 19-year-old recently extended his contract at Penrith until the end of 2019, with the club removing any get-out clause that would allow Nathan to follow his father to a new club.
Cleary said he and his dad had joked about the news at the dinner table on Monday night, but revealed Ivan hadn't received any formal offers for the coaching role.
The former Warriors and Panthers coach is widely regarded as one of the finest mentors on the open market, and Nathan said it would be good to see his father given another go in the NRL.
"Yeah 100 per cent I would [like to see him coaching again]. That's what he wants to do and I'd like to see it, but as of yet he hasn't got a phone call," Cleary said on Tuesday morning.
"He just sits around the home at the moment so [it'd be good] to get him out of the house and doing something.
"He was definitely a bit of a stress head [when he coached]. The grey hairs have taken a bit of a step back now that he's put the brakes on, but yeah, 100 per cent he wants to be back coaching."
Should Ivan get the Tigers job – or any other for that matter – all eyes would be on his side's first meeting with the Panthers.
Nathan said he would approach facing a team coaches by his father like any other game, but said there would be added pressure given his Ivan's intimate knowledge of his playing style.
"I suppose I'd take him on like I would any other coach in the NRL," he said.
"I suppose there'd be bragging rights in the house but it'd be a bit of fun.
"He'd probably know my weaknesses so I'd be under a bit of pressure."
 Cleary Nathan - Panthers