Penrith powerbroker Phil Gould has had a very messy week. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP
Penrith powerbroker Phil Gould has had a very messy week. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

‘It’s true’: NRL coach confirms Gus bombshell

PENRITH caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo admits he considered walking away under sacked coach Anthony Griffin but is glad he was talked out of it by club boss Phil Gould.

Gould revealed Ciraldo, who has been a Panthers assistant coach for the past five years, twice attempted to resign due to a poor relationship with Griffin.

Speaking for the first time since taking over on Monday, Ciraldo confirmed Gould's story.

"I don't want to go into too many details about it, but it's true,'' Ciraldo said of Gould's revelations on The Footy Show.

"At the time of me wanting to do that I just thought it was in the best interests of myself and the club and Hook (Griffin) and my family that I did that, but I got talked around it twice and I'm glad I'm still here."

After passing on a question as to whether Griffin had lost the Panther's locker room, Ciraldo was asked whether the former Panthers coach had lost his staff.

Ciraldo said his resignations were prompted by looking to further his coaching development.

"He didn't lose me, we had a working relationship, but I can look myself in the mirror and know I did everything possible up until Monday to help him with the team," he said.

"Every coach has different styles and philosophies and they're all different. Things were done here and we just have to move on and make sure we finish the year off the way we want to.''

Ciraldo joined the coaching ranks in 2014 following his retirement from rugby league the previous year.

He started as an assistant coach with the Panthers under-20s side under now-Manly coach Trent Barrett.

Panthers caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo. Picture: Brett Costello
Panthers caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo. Picture: Brett Costello

He was promoted to head coach in 2015, with the side claiming a premiership and back-to-back minor premierships under his guidance, as well as being the head coach of Italy at the 2017 World Cup.

Ciraldo hit out at claims from Griffin this week that the Panthers had struggled to develop juniors before his arrival in 2016.

"I was surprised (by those comments) because we'd won a number of titles in the lower grades up until the point that Hook got here," Ciraldo said.

"There were some really good systems in place there, some people doing a lot of hard work before he'd got here and again, the people in these four walls know about that.

"A lot of the players that are playing first grade now were playing SG Ball in 2013-14, under-20s 2015, so I'm pretty confident we had good systems in place."

Ciraldo seemed to shy away from the prospect of being a candidate to become the Panthers' full-time coach.

The Panthers have been open about their desire to lure Ivan Cleary from the Wests Tigers, three years after sacking him.

"I haven't had time to think about it," Ciraldo said.

- with AAP


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