Masked Panther: Cleary’s massive spray

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I’m told that Panthers coach Ivan Cleary’s spray at his troops after last weekend’s loss to Melbourne was so loud you probably could have heard it back in Penrith. Cleary wasn’t happy with his side’s effort in the second half and certainly let the players know of his disdain, giving them a massive dressing down – his first since returning to the club. Hopefully it’ll have some impact as the Panthers prepare to play the Wests Tigers at Panthers Stadium this weekend.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary. Photo: Megan Dunn

The rugby league future of Panthers reserve grader Tyrone Phillips is in grave doubt after the 25-year-old parted ways with the club this week. Phillips was charged with mid-range drink driving last weekend, and had already been on thin ice at the Panthers after he appeared in a highly publicised sex tape that rocked the team in the pre-season. The club met with Phillips and his management on Monday, and the former Bulldogs winger resigned from the club.

Suspended Panthers half Tyrone May briefly returned to Instagram last week, but disappeared again a few days later. May is now only a few weeks away from fronting court on charges stemming from the release of that sex tape in the off-season.

Tyrone May at training this week. Photo: Megan Dunn

Spotted: The Cleary family walking around the famous Mount Panorama track at Bathurst last Saturday morning. It was a tad warmer than what the weather gods produced later that night!

Spotted: Ivan’s wife Bec Cleary and their children watching the Panthers v Storm match from the corporate tent at Carrington Park.

A few special guests were on hand at Panthers training on Monday. A number of organ transplant recipients and their families, along with representatives from DonateLife and Transplant Australia, attended the session as part of a campaign to get Australians talking about organ donation. The issue is of personal interest to Penrith coach Ivan Cleary, who donated a kidney to his brother Ash in 2017. DonateLife will have a marquee at Panthers Stadium on Friday night where fans can learn more about organ donation.

James Tamou helps support organ donation this week. Photo: Megan Dunn

A new twist has been thrown into Penrith’s dramatic coaching merry-go-round last year with confirmation that Panthers General Manager Phil Gould had secret talks with supercoach Wayne Bennett about replacing Anthony Griffin at the foot of the Mountains. Gould and Bennett were willing to put their differences aside, and it appears as though Gus had his man. The Board however had already set their sights on Ivan Cleary. Time will tell if the Board’s decision was the right one.

Talking of Phil Gould, not surprisingly there’s been plenty of talk about his relationship with Ivan Cleary, especially given how poorly Penrith have performed in recent weeks. It would be wrong to say Gould and Cleary do not talk to each other. In fact, I spotted them having a lengthy conversation at the Panthers’ season launch last month and they catch up semi-regularly. Gould certainly has less involvement in the day-to-day running of the football side than he used to, and it’s fair to say his relationship with Ivan is not perfect, but any suggestion that there’s a civil war at play is incorrect. Time, and winning, heals all wounds.

Are you heading to the Royal Easter Show this year? Don’t forget to head to the showbag pavilion and pick up a Panthers Showbag. It costs around $26 and is actually using the correct Panthers logo this time around.

Youngster Liam Martin became Panther #584 when he debuted for the club against Melbourne last weekend. Martin broke down in tears when he was presented his jersey by Panthers legend Royce Simmons. It was a highlight for Martin after what’s been a difficult few years, which included the tragic passing of his brother.

I hear things got pretty tense between Panthers and the NRL over Isaah Yeo and that confusing concussion situation in Newcastle a fortnight ago. In fact, there’s a whisper Penrith may have actually been issued a suspended fine over their handling of the situation.

Well done to Nathan Cleary who visited kids from Panthers on the Prowl on his day off earlier this week.

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