A decision from in-demand coach Cameron Ciraldo is reportedly “imminent” — and NewsCorp journalist Dave Riccio believes it will be to remain at the Panthers.
Ciraldo is the brightest up-and-coming coach in the NRL and has caught the interest of the Tigers and Bulldogs after both clubs sacked their coaches.
The Tigers reportedly put a five-year offer to Ciraldo and gave him a deadline of the end of this week.
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However, Riccio told NRL 360 that Tigers football boss Tim Sheens has touched base with Ciraldo to ease the pressure.
But Riccio believes regardless of that, Ciraldo will likely make a decision soon and that will be to stay put at the foot of the mountains until a more suitable club comes knocking.
“Tim Sheens has been in touch with Cameron Ciraldo to explain ‘take your time, Cameron, we’re not going to put you under any pressure to make a decision’,” he said.
“I feel like there will be a decision imminent, I think the rep round gives Cameron time to sit back and look under the bonnet, then make a call with clear air either way and then get back to the Panthers and focus on the run to the finals.
“Ivan Cleary’s health is also a factor in Cameron’s decision.
“I feel like he will stay and I don’t think it has to be long term.
“He can stay at the Panthers for 12 months if he wants to because I’m a firm believer more jobs will come up.”
While the Bulldogs are said to be interested in Ciraldo, Riccio reported that the club has turned its attention to St Helens coach Kristian Woolf, who is also the head coach of Tonga.
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The reason for that is because they don’t want to match the reported five-year offer the Tigers have made.
“There’s suggestions that (Bulldogs football GM) Gus (Gould) has held talks with or is in the process of having talks with Kristian Woolf so clearly the Dogs are looking at other options as well,” Riccio said.
“I’ve also heard that they’re not willing to go to that five-year term because they don’t want to invest in a rookie coach for that length of time.”
News Corp journalist Paul Kent added: “I don’t disagree with that either, I think that’s smart management.”
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Like Riccio, Kent expects Ciraldo to remain at the Panthers for at least another year.
“I reckon the smart play by Ciraldo is to sit on his hands at Penrith for 12 more months and wait for a job to come up next year — which it will,” he said.
“And the advantage of one coming up next year is, it pains me to say this, but the two basket cases of the NRL are the Bulldogs and Tigers and they’ll both be in the first year of their new coach so it won’ t be one of them.
“It’ll be a club higher up the ladder and is in a better state now.”