29 Jun 2011

Warriors CEO says Panthers early approach behind Cleary's exit

7:00 pm on 29 June 2011

The Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah says while the National Rugby League club wanted to keep Ivan Cleary as coach, it was too soon to try to counter Penrith's three year contract offer.

Cleary will leave the Auckland club at the end of the season to take up a 3-year deal with the Panthers after being released from his Warriors contract early.

Cleary had re-signed till the end of next season and Scurrah says no-one planned for Penrith to make the approach at this stage of the year.

Wayne Scurrah says with the Panthers' general manager of football Phil Gould was determined to hire Cleary, whether it was 2012 or 2013, and there was no point leaving him and the Warriors in limbo for another year.

The former Leeds Rhinos and New Zealand Test coach Brian McClennan and Warriors assistant Tony Iro are frontrunners to replace Cleary at the club.