Departing Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary has sent a heartfelt message to his players, notifying them of his immediate exit from the club.
Cleary, who will be officially released by the club on Sunday morning, admitted he "did not feel good about it" but wished all the players the best in the future.
He will be replaced by Michael Maguire on a three-year deal after a compensation deal was struck with the Tigers before they granted a release.
NRL.com obtained the message Cleary sent the players on Saturday.
"I hope this finds you well and enjoying your time off,” Cleary said.
"I was writing to you in the hope of beating the press.. to let you know that I will no longer be your coach at Wests Tigers.
"This is an extremely uncomfortable situation for me as I have genuine fondness for the club, and I have loved coaching you all.. I understand that this situation has caused some pain for people that I care about, along with putting the club in an awkward situation... I do not feel good about this.
"I would have preferred to do this in person but time and circumstances have made that impossible.
I hope we meet again soon and I wish you all the very best in the future. You have my number and I am always open for a chat if you wish.
Cleary is expected to be announced next week as Penrith's coach for the 2019 Telstra Premiership, returning to the club on a five-year deal.