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Former Penrith back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary says Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's future in the team did become unworkable but only the Kiwis captain could explain why he chose to walk away from the club after six seasons.

The Panthers confirmed Watene-Zelezniak's exit on Friday afternoon as several rivals look to land the 24-year-old's signature before the June 30 deadline.

Watene-Zelezniak is a local junior, made his NRL debut in 2014 under Cleary, and went on to play 106 first grade games.

He's long expressed a desire to become a permanent fullback and after a strong campaign leading the Kiwis last October, managed just two games in the custodian role for his club this season.

"It's disappointing what that came to. His dreams and goals were on different paths to what our team's were," Cleary said.

"This was definitely what was best for our club and it was Dallin's choice and what he wanted to do. It's a professional sport, these things happen sometimes."

When pressed further as to why Watene-Zelezniak wanted to leave, Cleary said it wasn't up to him to tell the story.

"You'd have to ask Dallin that," he said.

Panthers v Roosters - Round 13

"I think it's only fair that we respect all parties that it stays between us but I'm sure you can ask Dal. He might offer it up."

The news broke just 48 hours after the club also confirmed Tim Grant's contract termination, after he suffered a season-ending pectoral tear. That will now allow them to free up a further space in the top 30 squad.

Grant's spot is expected to be taken by Windsor junior Mitch Kenny, although the club are expected to enter the player market to replace the Watene-Zelezniak in the backline.

"It gives us a bit of flexibility, we're not going to jump into anything and we'll see where that one lands," Cleary said.

"We've got injuries in the outside backs and if you lose one it's something that is the obvious thing but it's around flexibility and what's on offer."

Not long after Cleary spoke on Saturday, reported that former Panther Tyrone Peachey wanted out of the Titans to return home to Sydney - and possibly reunite with Penrith.

Meanwhile, Cleary declared NSW representative Nathan Cleary would be a certain starter against the Roosters after pulling up well from the Holden State of Origin series opener.

NSW halfback Nathan Cleary
NSW halfback Nathan Cleary ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"He's come back OK so he will play," Cleary said of Nathan.

"Freddy (Brad Fittler) was really clear about the next couple of weeks for him to play well and I think for all those guys, that's got to be the focus for them. Leave Wednesday night behind and play well for their clubs."

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