Penrith are reportedly set to install Cameron Ciraldo as head coach for next year’s NRL as they continue to be linked to Ivan Cleary in the long term.
Ciraldo will remain in charge of the NRL side in 2019 after guiding the Panthers through the final six weeks of the season in a caretaker capacity, according to NRL.com.
The 33-year-old was handed the reins after Anthony Griffin’s sacking four weeks out from the finals.
No coaching announcement is expected on Wednesday but it’s been reported that the club’s board has rubber-stamped Ciraldo’s ascension to the job on a full-time basis.
The club’s move to oust Griffin so late in the season resulted in speculation Cleary was set to exit the Wests Tigers, with two years still to run on his contract.
Cleary stated his promise to “honour” his deal with the joint venture, however, has since refused to answer questions.
It’s believed that the Panthers are readying to offer Cleary the role for 2021 – which is viewed by many as an attempt by Penrith to force the Tigers’ hand and release him.
A coach being signed to a rival club during the final two years of his deal would be seen by many as untenable.
Cleary’s move back to the Penrith job, from which he was axed in 2015, would allow him to team up with his son Nathan, who is expected to sign a contract extension with the club.
The NSW playmaker has reportedly been offered a lucrative deal until the end of 2023 and has stated his desire to sort out his future in the next few weeks.