Ivan Cleary wants to coach son Nathan.
Ivan Cleary wants to coach son Nathan.

Ivan Cleary comes clean on Tigers chasing Nathan

WESTS Tigers coach Ivan Cleary made a decision with his son in the off-season that they would like to work together at some point in the future.

With Nathan signed to the Panthers until the end of 2019 and Ivan coaching at the Tigers there is no developments on when that might be according to Cleary Senior, but he made their intentions clear on Monday night.

"We decided in the off-season after having a chat that it would be really good to work together one day," Cleary said.

"It wasn't that simple originally because we didn't want to put any pressure on him and we didn't know if it would work out, but we decided we wanted to work together.

"I've never coached him before apart from in under-six soccer.

"Obviously it is a lot more difficult than the simplicity of our intentions, in the professional environment of the NRL.

"There are so many different variables like I really enjoy coaching the boys I've got at the Tigers.

Nathan Cleary could be set to link up with his dad.
Nathan Cleary could be set to link up with his dad.

"From Nathan's point of view he is a very loyal kid and he loves the Panthers and he's not even off-contract until the end of next year, so even if you could or would, you couldn't even talk about it until November."

However, Penrith boss Phil Gould has expressed a willingness to let Nathan be coached by Ivan at some stage, so the question remains whether Ivan consider pursuing his son to join him at the Tigers.

"I won't explore it because he (Phil Gould) said that months ago," Cleary explained.

"From my point of view there was a bit of a blow up last week for whatever reason, but nothing has changed.

"Through respect to Nathan and the Panthers and even our club, there is nothing we can talk about until November and that's always the way it's been.

"That is always the agreement that the Panthers and Nathan and his management had anyway, so to us it is old news if anything and hopefully I can stop talking about it."

Nathan Cleary and Ivan Cleary. Picture: Brett Costello
Nathan Cleary and Ivan Cleary. Picture: Brett Costello

Father and son live together and can talk as much as they want privately.

So does Cleary pursuing his son have a negative effect on the Tigers and their current squad?

"That's where it all started because Nathan started playing for the Panthers the year after I left and I would have found it very hard to debut my son as an 18-year-old ahead of other players," Cleary explained.

"At that point I wasn't sure if we would work together and it could only ever happen if he was established and the nepotism side of it wasn't there.

"In the off-season we worked out that he was going to be established and I don't think his selection is ever going to be a problem, so I think it can only be beneficial at the right time if it actually happens."