Souths coach Michael Maguire during the warm up before the South Sydney Rabbitohs v Parramatta Eels NRL round 15 game at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park. pic Mark Evans
Souths coach Michael Maguire during the warm up before the South Sydney Rabbitohs v Parramatta Eels NRL round 15 game at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park. pic Mark Evans

Tigers release Cleary, confirm Maguire as new coach

THE NRL's coaching carousel has taken its next stop with Ivan Cleary released by Wests Tigers and Michael Maguire confirmed as his successor for the next three seasons.

In rugby league's worst kept secret, Cleary is now free to join son Nathan at Penrith on a five-year deal this week while Maguire returns to the NRL fold to continuethe Tigers' rebuild.

A premiership-winner at South Sydney in 2014 and with a winning record of 61 per cent in both the NRL and English Super League,Maguire is viewed as credentialed enough to release Cleary from the final two years of his deal.

"Ivan oversaw a period of significant change at Wests Tigers and his work will leavea positive impact on the club," Tigers chair Marina Go said.

"This was a situation not of our making but I'm proud of theprofessional manner that the club has conducted itself.

"I believe we're now in a very strong position to move forward over the coming years."

A noted hard task master, Maguire turnedthe Rabbiotohs from perennial battlers into a premiership-winning force in his six years at the club, taking them to the finalsin his first four seasons.

He will have a similar challenge ahead of him at the Tigers, who finished ninth last season amid Cleary's rebuild but missed the finals for the seventh-straight year.

Cleary is heading back to Penrith.
Cleary is heading back to Penrith.

"I plan on building on the strong foundation that has been put in place and work closely with the players' leadership groupto build a stronger organisation on and off the field," Maguire said.

"The biggest appeal in taking on this role is being able to work with the leadership that has been built on and off the fieldat Wests Tigers. "I want this club to be viewed as a long-term successful club that everyone wants to be a part of and thiswill involve staff, players, families, members and supporters." Maguire will continue his role with the New Zealand nationalteam, a role handed to him after he was sacked by Souths at the end of last year. He is also expected to return in time fromthe Kiwis' tour of England for the Tigers' first main day back at training on November 12.

MICHAEL MAGUIRE'S RECORD AT SOUTH SYDNEY (2012-2017)

Matches: 153 Win rate: 55.6 per cent Finals series: 4 Grand finals1 (2014) Premierships: 1 (2014)



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