FORMER Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary’s underhanded move to Penrith has been scorched in an extraordinary bake from Tigers legend Benny Elias.
The Balmain legend said Cleary has inflicted “carnage” on the join venture club since he was appointed coach early in the 2017 NRL season.
Cleary oversaw the club’s dramatic recruitment and retention shake-up which resulted in fullback James Tedesco, playmaker Mitchell Moses and captain Aaron Woods leaving the club.
Elias says Cleary has blood on his hands for overseeing the dramatic overhaul and now walking away before fixing the problem he is accused of creating.
Officially released by the Wests Tigers on Sunday, Cleary is now free to return to Penrith on what is rumoured to be up to a five-year deal.
Penrith will reportedly finally announce Cleary’s signature on Monday afternoon.
Elias says it is “absolutely disgraceful” that Cleary has left the club to deal with a mess he created.
“Extremely disappointing. It’s a real frustrating time for the West Tigers fans I’ve got to say,” Elias told Macquarie Sports Radio’s Breakfast with Mark Levy and Mark Riddell.
Ivan’s off the bus.Source:AAP
“We thought we were going to start building a dynasty, that’s what he said. He was to have all the say in what was happening in the football world.
“In one stroke of a red pen he got rid of our three great juniors in Aaron Woods, Mitchell Moses and without doubt one of the greatest players in today’s game in Tedesco.
“They were the three people you build a side on, build a very good side on and unfortunately it was Ivan’s decision along with the board obviously to get rid of those three players because he had some scheme to make us a dynasty and 12 months later none of those players are there and he’s gone also.
“Rugby league fans have every right in the world to be angry at Ivan Cleary.
“There’s got to be compensation because what he’s done, he’s left carnage behind by getting out of his contract with two more years (remaining).”
“It’s absolutely disgraceful and not acceptable.
Nobody ever suspected double agent Cleary.Source:News Corp Australia
“All I want to say is shame on Ivan Cleary for what he’s done. There’s been no excuse and there’s been no reason for that.”
Cleary’s arrival will come after the Tigers and Panthers agreed to negotiate a release on the coach’s final two years of his deal at the joint venture.
Kiwis coach Michael Maguire was on Sunday then confirmed as his successor, allowing his return to the NRL after a season in the wilderness.
Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe has also said Tigers fans are right to be angry at Cleary’s decision to walk away less than halfway through his contract.
“There are still two years left on his contract, so I think they’ve got every right,” Pascoe said.
“There was a long-term commitment from the club to him and from him to the club. We certainly looked for stability when we made that appointment.
“That was our focus 18 months ago when we appointed Ivan.
“Fans are passionate, they buy into messaging that is out there and fans buy into directions that clubs are taking and a big part of that is the coach.”
In a chaotic seven-day period, Manly have also announced Des Hasler as their new coach and South Sydney have lured Wayne Bennett on a two-year deal that begins in 2020.
The final piece of the puzzle is expected to be complete after Brisbane’s board meeting on Tuesday night, when Anthony Seibold will be officially confirmed as Bennett’s successor.
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