Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ivan Cleary must be some coach.

Especially if the rumours doing the rounds in rugby league this week are correct.

Scuttlebutt would have it that Penrith Panthers head honcho, Phil Gould, has earmarked Cleary as the right man to lift the Sydney side out of the doldrums.

And in 2012, too.

It seems Cleary is a wanted man.

Problem with this, of course, is that Cleary is contracted to the New Zealand Warriors until October 31st 2012.

Now, Cleary is a fine coach, but even he may struggle to coach two teams at once.

So which is it going to be?

Cleary insists that he is going nowhere. That he is committed to seeing out his contract. This is a commendable attitude on his part.

Too often in today’s society, contracts are seen as something to break when it suits. A mere inconvenience, as it were.

Let’s assume the best and that Cleary is principled enough to honour his current contract. That still leaves the Warriors wading through a sea of uncertainty for 2012, not knowing in what direction the club would be headed.

What if Cleary, despite staying next season, has alredy decided that he will be at Penrith in 2013? Now, he’s more than likely going to keep that information to himself, knowing that he can use it to increase his bargaining power when it comes to his next contract.

Nothing quite like having a couple of clubs after your services to increase your price, is there? You can’t really blame him for that.

If he is going at the end of next season though, that leaves the incoming coach stuck with playing personnel that aren’t necessarily of his choosing.

And if he knows he is going to leave when his contract expires, why not go to his bosses at the Warriors and come to an amicable agreement to part ways.

That way Cleary gets the challenge of turning Penrith into a NRL force once again, and it allows for a new coach to be appointed at Mt Smart earlier than would normally have been possible.

This way, no one loses, either. Cleary, would forgo the last year of his monetary gain in Auckland (he would get paid by Penrith anyway) and Warriors management would be paying the incoming coach what Cleary would have got next year.

So, financially everything would be sweet.

And on the coaching front, there are viable options waiting in the wings. Both Tony Iro and Brian McClennan would jump at the chance to coach in the NRL.

Which means all would not be blue for the New Zealand Warriors.

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