New coach Cleary's plan to 'unblock' Tigers
AFTER a fortnight of uncertainty, Ivan Cleary finally has been unveiled as the new coach of Wests Tigers, on a long-term deal that gives him the opportunity to stabilise the club.
At a press conference yesterday to announce his new job, Cleary admitted he had some big challenges ahead.
That will start with the identification of what he described as "blockages in the program” which are coming out in the results, then the hard part, repairing them.
"There's clearly some blockages in the program here at Wests Tigers and that's coming out in the field at the moment,” Cleary said.
"The performance on the field, that's what the whole club brings. Game day is the framework that the club is seen through and it's fair to say at the moment that it needs to improve.”
Cleary admitted that a big step towards improvement on the field would be ridding the club of the distractions, headlined by the club's so-called 'big four' - Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks - who come off contract at the end of this season.
The coach confirmed that he would play a role in recruitment decisions and encouraged the quartet to "be part of the journey” with him.
"I'll have control of the football team, recruitment will be a collaborative process but the buck stops with me,” Cleary said.
"It's something we'd like to sort out sooner rather than later.
"What's most important is those guys want to get on the bus and be part of the journey.”
Cleary will coach for the rest of this season and then a further three years until the end of the 2020 season.
The club and Cleary had been locked in negotiations for a fortnight since the sacking of Jason Taylor.
This will be Cleary's first head coaching role since being replaced by Anthony Griffin at Penrith at the end of 2015.
The Tigers have only one win to their name this season, a first-round victory against the Rabbitohs followed by four defeats.
The Dragons defeated the Tigers by 28-6 on Sunday.