The Warriors need to speak to Cleary

The Warriors need to speak to Cleary
Career coaches don’t come along very often and for that reason the Warriors need to speak to axed Panthers mentor Ivan Cleary.

The former Warriors coach was sacked by the Panthers earlier in the week – citing that Cleary was stale and needed a year off. They say change is as good as a holiday and if Cleary were to move to Auckland for a second stint at the helm of the Warriors then I imagine he will be refreshed.

While the Warriors have publicly said the timing is not right for a Cleary-redux I disagree. Managing director Jim Doyle has correctly stood behind incumbent Andrew McFadden but Cleary’s availability changes things. Only multiple premiership winners Wayne Bennett, Craig Bellamy and Des Hasler have been coaching first grade for as long as Cleary. The Warriors found their most consistent seasons under his guidance and the guy clearly understands what it takes to get the best out of Kiwi players.

Panthers supremo Phil Gould hired Cleary away from the Warriors back in 2011. Cleary helped clean out some deadwood and turn the club into a premiership force, improving each year and culminating in a grand final qualifier in 2014, despite a horror run of injuries. That injury curse struck worse still this year and the Panthers season never got going. Gould astonishingly pulled the trigger on Cleary’s time at the club, replacing him with former Broncos boss Anthony Griffin.

While it is hard to see a current opening in the first grade ranks, Cleary is too good a coach to simply wait around for an opportunity. Someone will manufacture things to ensure he gets a run to start the 2016 season or to take over midway through the year.

The Warriors are coming off a disappointing season themselves where injury killed off their chances as well. Despite calls to move him on, the Warriors have stuck with McFadden for a 2016 season in which the club welcomes star recruits Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke to the roster. I have backed the club’s stance on not looking to replace McFadden as I believe he deserves a crack with a better roster.

Displaying loyalty is an admirable trait but it doesn’t lead to premierships however. The Warriors owe it to themselves and their long-suffering fans to make the best moves available to them. A week ago there wasn’t a coach out there that looked a better fit than McFadden. A week is a long time in football however.

If Cleary is keen for a second stint in Auckland – they need to give him the chance.
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Play The Ball
This article has been written by Dale Budge. Dale is a well known rugby league commentator and journalist, having covered the sport for over 10 years.

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no,no,no,no, no...... Gould Cleary can see the writing on the wall.
It isn't that. I'd say it is more likely Cleary told him he planned on going elsewhere in 2017 (or wanted a significant upgrade) and Gould has decided he doesn't want a coach staying in the role for one year before going off somewhere else. Griffin couldn't make it work at Brisbane. No way you'd take Griffin over Cleary surely. The Panthers went close last year even with a big injury toll. They were hammered with injuries to their best players worse than I've ever seen this year. He hasn't become a bad coach all of a sudden.
Another example of a career coach might be Neil Henry or perhaps Brian Smith, head coach since 84 with multiple GF appearances but only a minor premiership to show.
As I see it Cappy would have been the coach of a top 8 team in not quite his 2nd full season if not for the cruel injury to SJ. That there would have him on track to reaching the Finals a year before Ivan did. But alas, 'would haves' don't cut it, although 2016 is shaping to offer better results than any season I can recall under Ivan not merely because of recruitment (Doyle & RTS etc) but also Cappy's upside.
Now I'm not really sold on Cappy yet and are squarely in the Kearney camp, but Ivan the terrible has had his turn at 2 clubs and still hasn't nailed a minor or major premiership yet with either Gould of Hart showing him the way.

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