Cleary to stay with Wests Tigers in 2019
Ivan Cleary has ruled out a return to Penrith, confirming he will continue to coach the Wests Tigers in 2019.
After days of speculation, Cleary addressed a large media contingent on Saturday morning, insisting he had not received an offer from the Panthers and would honour his contract with the Tigers.
Never one to seek the limelight, Cleary appeared anything but comfortable as he read from a prepared statement and spoke of the "misinformation" surrounding his coaching future.
Cleary also made it clear he would not take any questions regarding the issue.
"When I was approached by the Panthers I had no idea it was about coaching their club," Cleary said.
"I was told at that meeting the club was looking at the head coaching position. I advised the Panthers of my ongoing contract status with the Wests Tigers.
"I advised the Chair and CEO of the Tigers of the discussions I had with the Panthers."
Cleary said he had no idea the Panthers were going to sack coach Anthony Griffin last Monday.
"I was as surprised as anyone on the announcement of the dismissal of Anthony Griffin," he said.
"I have not received any offer from the Panthers nor have I asked the Wests Tigers for a release. I am enjoying my contribution at this club and the club is growing nicely.
"I respect the contract I have with the Wests Tigers and I intend to honour this contract."
A move to Penrith would've allowed Cleary to coach his son Nathan. That won't happen next year but the pair openly admit they eventually want to be at the same club.
"It is common knowledge that my son Nathan and I have acknowledged our desire to work together at some time," he said.
"That remains the case."
Despite Cleary's request for no questions on the matter, a few reporters inevitably tried their luck anyway.
But Cleary politely refused to elaborate further and threatened to walk out unless the subject changed.
The Tigers face a do or die round 22 road game against the Raiders on Sunday to stay in the finals race.
"I'm only talking about the game," he said.
"We can't control what other teams are doing. We can only control our own destiny.
"We've won three of our last four and we'll go down to Canberra with a bit of confidence. We understand the challenge ahead and we're looking forward to it."
With the Cowboys defeating the Broncos 34-30 on Thursday night, the Tigers can pull within two points of eighth-placed Brisbane if they defeat the Raiders.