Panthers boss Cleary not keen to talk Tigers but this week is personal

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/panthers-boss-cleary-not-keen-to-talk-tigers-but-this-week-is-personal-20190331-p519db.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed

Back in November when Ivan Cleary was happy to talk Tigers and get things off his chest, he was asked a question about what exactly the joint venture fans were supposed to think when he sat in the coaching box opposite for the first time in 2019.

Cleary wasn’t as icy as a mid-autumn Bathurst night, didn’t speak in cliches and generally just told it as he saw it. In the months since he’s made it known the time for reflection on the messy split from Tigertown is over. He doesn’t care about the incessant questioning and innuendo which will bubble along this week as his second coming at the Panthers stalls.

Armed with multi-million dollar contracts belonging to both himself and son Nathan, Cleary’s Panthers have looked anything but title contenders they should be so far. Yes, it is only round three. But perhaps for the first time in his career Cleary has walked into a club ready to win, which comes with its own pressure. That pressure will be most keenly felt this week, from a set of fans who he united on his arrival at the club and perhaps united even more when he left. Some understood the unique lure of returning to Penrith to coach his son, others didn’t.

Asked late last year about how Tigers fans should feel about his exit, Cleary told the Herald : "The fans are the lifeblood of the game. We wouldn’t have a game without the fans – I was a fan once too and I understand the emotions that come with it.

"There will be a variety of emotions and some fans that I’ve already spoken to while disappointed I’m leaving understand and am thankful for what I’ve done. I’m sure there will be other fans that don’t quite see it that way. I totally understand that and get that. Our fans are emotional. I’d suppose I’d just like to say anything I did with the club I did it authentically, I believed everything I said and I never for one minute thought I’d be leaving but it’s just kind of how it happened. I would say I think they’ve got a great club.

“Some people won’t see it this way, but I can look myself in the mirror and know that I’ve given the Tigers full disclosure through this whole journey. I’ve tried to consider everything to make sure this was done in the right way. That’s all I can do.” On emotion, Cleary wasn’t keen to show much of it after Penrith were humbled by a resilient Storm in the central west on Saturday night.

He was asked, almost baited, for his thoughts on the week coming. He cared little for it and after being prodded one more time swiftly wrapped up the press conference and walked out.

Having carved his reputation as one of the calmest coaches in the game, Cleary’s patience has been tested within his first few months back at the foot of the mountains. He has had to navigate his way through the sex tapes scandal, born from a time when he wasn’t at the club.

It’s a deeply personal part of a week he will try his best to shrug off as not being about himself. But try telling Tigers fans it won’t be personal.

Well I hope the loss to the dogs refocuses us to kick Cleary ass!

Am wondering whether we got ahead of ourselves and started thinking about this game.

Coming into this on the back of a loss is probably better than coming in on a win for us.
But they’re also coming in on a pretty poor performance, actually all their performances have been average

It’s time to move on. Getting caught up in emotional crap leads to disaster. What happens if the players are so worked up about this game coming and they lose? How do they regroup and get themselves up the following week? No thanks. The only thing they should be emotional about is 2 points, no matter who the opposition.

I Was at the game on Friday night and there were rumours of a sex tape involving the wonder child.

https://wwos.nine.com.au/nrl/panthers-to-be-boosted-by-kikau-return/a75ae05e-87e7-4585-8b83-37e28e74a5cd

Penrith expect Wests Tigers players to make it personal when they face Ivan Cleary for the first time since he controversially walked away from the NRL club.

Tigers fans still bitter at Cleary’s exit are expected to make their presence felt at Panthers Stadium in what shapes as an emotional contest.

It is understood a handful of Tigers players were upset with Cleary’s request to be released from the final two years of his deal to return to Penrith.

And Panthers prop James Tamou is anticipating some of their feelings will be let known in their encounter on Friday. I definitely think so; talking to some of them, he’s such a good coach and they seemed pretty hurt," Tamou said on Monday.

"And obviously coming off a loss to Canterbury, they’d be pretty fired up.

“From what I’ve seen, Ivan has such an impact on everyone and that’s why I think they were hurt. Of course, yeah they’d be fired up. I would be.”

Cleary lured a host of big names on long-term deals in his two years at the Tigers, including Ben Matulino, Russell Packer, Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye.

Veterans Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah also came back to the club.

Tamou said it was important the Panthers match the Tigers’ emotion.

“They’ve got some big boys in there and some boys that are playing good footy. No doubt there’s skill in there with Robbie Farah too,” he said.

“We’ve definitely just got to match it. It’ll just be a good test coming off a game like Melbourne.”

Co-captain James Maloney played down the occasion, but insisted the team had its own point to prove to Cleary after being walloped 32-2 by Melbourne.

“A bit of outside noise won’t change our job. We’ve got a point to prove and some things to make amends for from the weekend so that’ll be our focus,” he said.

"The fans might be a bit angry, but I don’t care to be honest. I don’t know what you want me to say. That side of it doesn’t bother me one bit.

In a boost for the 1-3 Panthers, powerhouse second-rower Viliame Kikau is expected to make his season debut after injuring his knee in a trial. Co-captain Isaah Yeo is also likely to return after being rested for concussion.

“How good, the big Fijian. He’s a hard bloke to replace when he’s out, and he’s currently looking fit and firing,” Maloney said of Kikau’s inclusion.

Make sure the golden child hits the ground often.

Nice that Maloney doesnt care that the fans might be upset. What a club man.

@Tiger_Fan18:

In a boost for the 1-3 Panthers, powerhouse second-rower Viliame Kikau is expected to make his season debut after injuring his knee in a trial. Co-captain Isaah Yeo is also likely to return after being rested for concussion.

We have no luck.

Zero

If I had a dollar for every time a top player makes their return from injury against the Wests Tigers I’d be filthy bloody rich by now! Arghhh!

@Spud_Murphy:

If I had a dollar for every time a top player makes their return from injury against the Wests Tigers I’d be filthy bloody rich by now! Arghhh!

Yeh I know, it is like they script it, or maybe they think coming back against us is an easy game

@bathursttiger:

I Was at the game on Friday night and there were rumours of a sex tape involving the wonder child.

What, it is April first though

Yeah but then we never win the games we are meant to win like last weekend so maybe it doesn’t matter who is coming back. We still might not win without them!

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