Panthers coach Ivan Cleary is hopeful Cameron Ciraldo will remain at the club next season amid talk of him joining Cronulla in 2022.
Ciraldo is tipped to join Craig Fitzgibbon's coaching staff at the Sharks next year in a move that could see Cleary lose his second assistant coach in as many seasons after Trent Barrett shifted to Belmore for this season.
It's understood Ciraldo addressed the Panthers players and coaching staff on Tuesday to clear the air and indicated that if he was moving they'd be among the first to know.
The former NRL journeyman has been with the Panthers as an assistant coach since 2014, immediately transitioning from a player to coach and mentoring the current crop of local stars in the side.
The 36-year-old has been widely credited for turning around the club's defence in recent seasons but the Sharks' interest and the fact Ciraldo lives in the shire could sway him to move back home.
Cleary: We’re learning to handle the heat of battle
"We had a chat and that will remain private between me and Cam, but I think we all know the situation," Cleary said on Wednesday.
"It's not really too big of a consideration for us at the moment. There's no finality about it.
"I think Cam loves it here and we love him here, that's pretty obvious. That's all I can really give you, at the moment. I don't think he wanted it to be out in the public."
After Barrett's departure last year and the pending exit of Matt Burton, Cleary acknowledged the Panthers were a club other rivals were keeping an eye on in the recruitment space.
Poetry in motion from the Panthers
"I guess it's a compliment to our organisation," Cleary said. "We had a lot of players that have been targeted and now coaches and other staff members as well.
"That's the business and we'll deal with that like we do every other situation."
The Panthers travel to Brisbane as heavy favourites against last year's bottom-placed outfit but Cleary said the side were yet to hit the same form that drove them to the grand final in 2020.
"There are some really good things about our game, the intensity we're playing at and the effort which is really good, but in terms of execution there's a fair way to go," he said.
"But I think most teams would say that. It's a complete challenge. We understand what the Broncos are perfectly capable of.
"They haven't put it together the way they'd like yet this year but they're always better at home."