Photo: Getty Images
The Wests Tigers have touched base with Ivan Cleary’s manager to indicate he is their No. 1 target as head coach.
“Ivan Cleary could be Tigers coach next week - and play a massive role in negotiations with so-called Big 4,” reports The Daily Telegraph.
The club's so-called big four of Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks are all unsigned beyond 2017 and say they won't renew until they know who will be Tigers coach.
More to come.
Earlier On Triple M
Ivan Cleary admits he's interested in coaching the Wests Tigers but is yet to hear from the embattled NRL club.
Cleary is the frontrunner to take over full-time from sacked mentor Jason Taylor, but insists it's "flat out not true" a deal has already been reached.
"I've not had contact. There's a lot of speculation," the former Warriors and Penrith coach said on Tuesday evening on Fox Sports' NRL Tonight program.
"I'm not sure if that's good or bad really ... If I'm fortunate to get an opportunity, I'd certainly love to look into it."
Having been shown the door himself at the Panthers, Cleary says he feels for Taylor.
"It just shows that it's a pretty ruthless gig, so maybe there's something wrong with me," he said.
"It's not a nice feeling (being sacked). You've just got to move on. It's all part of the game."
The 46-year-old is keen to move on with the Tigers, but won't rush into a decision - if he's offered the job at a fractured club that has fired three coaches in five seasons.
Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens during the NRL semi-final against the Dragons in 2005 Photo: Getty Images
Tim Sheens, who guided the Tigers to their one and only joint-venture premiership in 2005, was sacked in 2012, while Mick Potter lasted just two seasons before making way for Taylor in 2015.
Cleary concedes the constant hiring and firing at the Tigers is a concern.
"Because that's a big part of the whole operation. It does start at the top and there's been some changes," he said.
"It's probably easy to say there's instability; a lot of coaches have come and gone recently. The board's also been changed, I understand, over the last few years.
"You'd definitely like to have surety as a coach, and you need support in some areas but you need autonomy in some others.
"But that relationship and that balance (between the coach and board) has got be strong and solid."
Photo: Getty Images
Cleary said he had a strong relationship with Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe from their days working together at the Panthers and he hoped that would help should an opportunity at the Tigers arise.
"There's obviously some upsides at that club. They've got a good young roster," Cleary said.
"(But) there's obviously some blockages in the program for whatever reason.
"I'm certainly not going to stand here and say I'll have all the answers cos there's obviously something not going right there.
"But I'd certainly look into it. I've said many times that I'm very keen to get back into it.
"It'd have to also be the right job as well."
Cleary is one of two coaches linked to Concord, along with former under-20s mentor Todd Payten, while Andrew Webster has been installed as interim head coach.
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