Cleary to make coaching call while Tigers remain tight-lipped
WESTS Tigers coach Ivan Cleary is expected to reveal whether he intends to make a sensational return to Penrith when he speaks before the team's captain's run on Saturday.
Cleary has remained silent on the saga since informing the Tigers on Monday he had been approached by the Panthers about a possible comeback two weeks ago.
And while Cleary was sacked by Penrith three years ago, the move would allow him to unite with son and star halfback Nathan at the foot of the mountains.
Speaking for the first time since this week's developments, Tigers players on Friday admitted Cleary addressed the playing group about the situation but were tight-lipped about the meeting.
"What was said in that meeting I'm not going to say because all our meetings we do keep private. I'll let Ivan address that at the time he speaks (on Saturday)," Benji Marshall said.
"I don't want to be the one to say what happened in that meeting."
He was hopeful Cleary, who has two years left on his current deal, would remain at the club.
However, he believed the club would also be able to withstand him leaving, pointing to a more stable front office since his return to the club this season. "I feel like I am confident (he'll stay), but rugby league's rugby league," Marshall said.
"I thought I was going to stay here forever and we know how that worked out. You expect anything in the game.
"At the end of the day, what I do know is our club is very strong and proud club. Since I've been back at the club, I've really noticed that.
"I feel like we've got the right people in charge at the top and the right people to point us in the right direction. Whatever does happen, we have faith."
Marshall said he could also understand Ivan's desire to coach Nathan.
"I feel like I would love to coach my son. Hopefully he just plays golf and then I can be his caddie and we can just cruise off and that's enough," Marshall said.
"I can understand wanting to coach your son, 100 per cent."
Co-captain Chris Lawrence, who is currently the longest-serving player on the roster, said teammates who had been lured to the Tigers by Ivan Cleary have built strong ties to the club.
"One of the first reasons you come to the club is for the coach," Lawrence said.
"But once you get to a club - and I'm not speaking on behalf of all the boys - (it's about) the culture within the club and playing group around it.
"I know a lot of the boys who've come this year have built a close bond with a lot of the players. While they might be disappointed if (Ivan left), I don't think that would change."