Gould reveals agreement for Cleary to play under his father
Panthers general manager Phil Gould has revealed he has an agreement with Nathan Cleary to release the NSW halfback if he wants to play with under father Ivan in the future.
Cleary’s future is the source of constant speculation as he comes off contract at the end of next year and Gould admits that even if he re-signs with Penrith he will eventually want to join up with his dad.
The 20-year-old will be allowed to negotiate with rival clubs from November 1 and he and his father, who is the coach of the Wests Tigers, have publicly stated their desire to team up at some stage.
Penrith coach Anthony Griffin told media on Friday he wanted Cleary to stay beyond next season but Gould said he had no doubt that one day Nathan will leave the club to work with Ivan.
Gould said Cleary would have his blessing to do so and the Panthers would not stand in his way.
"He’ll make a decision at the end of the year," Gould told Nine after the Tigers loss to Canterbury on Friday night.
"Whatever that decision is, I will support it 100% and Ivan will support it 100% because it’s his career.
"But I have an agreement with Nathan. If one day he says, ‘I want to go play with my dad’, let’s make it happen. I’ve got no problem with him going to play with his father whatsoever."
Cleary’s decision could have an impact on whether Tigers halfback Luke Brooks re-signs as he is also off contract at the end of next season and last year sought out Ivan about his future if Nathan was to join the club.
"The answer is very simple - Ivan is a father who wants to coach his son, we all understand that," Gould said.
"Nathan is a son who would like to play for his father one day - we all understand that.
"I believe it will happen. And I would like to see it happen. But the decision right now is in Nathan’s hands. Neither his father or I are putting any pressure on him."