NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo rejects Wests Tigers’ mega deal to become head coach

Wests Tigers will go back to the drawing board in their search for a new head coach after their top target turned down the club’s huge deal. Find out who is next on their list.

The Wests Tigers’ search for a new coach will start again after No.1 target Cameron Ciraldo knocked back the embattled club.

Sending the Tigers management back to the drawing board, Ciraldo has rejected a mega five-year deal to help resurrect the western Sydney franchise.

Todd Payten, Shane Flanagan, John Morris and interim coach Brett Kimmorley will become the new focus of discussion for the Tigers.

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There are some members of the Tigers hierarchy that believe the club should now shift their focus towards an experienced coach with the capability to recruit and regenerate the roster.

The setback for the Tigers has emerged after the club spent the past month pitching their vision to Ciraldo.

Cameron Ciraldo has knocked back a switch to Wests Tigers. Picture: NRL Photos
Cameron Ciraldo has knocked back a switch to Wests Tigers. Picture: NRL Photos

Wests Tigers General Manager of football Tim Sheens had identified Ciraldo as the number one target to replace recently sacked coach Michael Maguire.

The Tigers felt Ciraldo’s strength to develop the club’s best young talent into NRL players — as he has helped achieve at Penrith — was the style of coach they needed to cultivate their rich nursery of under-18 and under-20 players.

Ciraldo had toured the Tigers sparkling new Centre of Excellence, while also analysing the club’s depth chart and salary cap position.

But after serious deliberation and a final meeting with his agent George Mimis on Saturday, Ciraldo, 37, decided to resist stepping into the NRL furnace.

“The club has been contacted by Cameron Ciraldo and his management this afternoon and they have advised the club that he is not in a position to accept the role of Head Coach at this juncture in his career,’’ a Tigers statement read on Saturday.

“Whilst disappointing, we respect his decision, and we will continue with the selection process in appointing our club’s Head Coach.’’

It’s anticipated Ciraldo will remain at Penrith in his assistant coaching role.

Ciraldo has also held talks with the Bulldogs, but Canterbury are yet to make the hugely respected defence coach a formal contract offer. The Bulldogs are contemplating sticking with interim coach Mick Potter for a further 12 months.

The decision wasn’t easy for Ciraldo, who had the unique opportunity to secure a five-year contract to start his NRL coaching career.

But following a deliberately patient model, similar to that of close friend and rival NRL coach Craig Fitzgibbon, Ciraldo made the call to resist the appeal of helping ignite a Tigers club that hasn’t made the finals in more than a decade.

The Tigers will continue their search for a new coach with Payten, Flanagan, Kimmorley and Morris expected to be discussed.

Originally published as NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo rejects Wests Tigers’ mega deal to become head coach

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