NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo set to re-sign with Penrith Panthers after rejecting Wests Tigers

The NRL’s most in demand coach, Cameron Ciraldo, is set to make a decision on his coaching future after turning down a lucrative Wests Tigers contract.

Penrith Panthers boss Brian Fletcher has booked lunch with Cameron Ciraldo’s manager, George Mimis, for Thursday this week.

They are expected to agree on a one-year extension for Ciraldo to remain with the premiers as Ivan Cleary’s assistant and defence coach.

It follows Ciraldo’s decision to reject a big-money five-year offer from the Wests Tigers over the weekend.

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There will be other opportunities for Ciraldo this time next year for 2024, including Melbourne Storm. There could also be Newcastle and St George-Illawarra.

This guy is a carbon copy of Cronulla Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon in that he is prepared to be patient and wait for the right opportunity at the right time.

Not that good jobs come up all that often.

Cameron Ciraldo is set to re-sign with Penrith, after months of speculation over his coaching future. Picture: NRL Photos
Cameron Ciraldo is set to re-sign with Penrith, after months of speculation over his coaching future. Picture: NRL Photos

The successful clubs higher up the ladder usually stick by the staff they already have.

Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis spoke highly of Ciraldo.

“Cameron rang himself on Saturday evening and was very professional and very courteous,” he said, “He was complimentary of the club but felt the timing wasn’t right.”

But where to now for the Wests Tigers?

“Tim Sheens will look at all other options and make a recommendation to the board,” Hagipantelis said, “There are still some impressive people out there who are showing interest.”

The Wests Tigers were keen to land Ciraldo as their long-term coach, offering a lucrative five-year deal. Picture: Richard Dobson
The Wests Tigers were keen to land Ciraldo as their long-term coach, offering a lucrative five-year deal. Picture: Richard Dobson

We are now hearing the names of Shane Flanagan and John Morris as the most likely candidates.

Morris has Wests Tigers DNA. He played 72 games for the club between 2007 and 2010.

He was a 300-game player and in coaching he made the top eight at Cronulla two years in a row.

And then Flanagan.

He built the Cronulla Sharks from rock bottom to win the 2016 premiership.

He is a proven development coach that Tim Sheens says he is looking for.

At some stage he needs to be judged on his coaching record, not the mistakes he has made and been punished harshly for.

Originally published as NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo set to re-sign with Penrith Panthers after rejecting Wests Tigers

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