Ivan Cleary

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Ivan Cleary
Ivan Cleary.jpg
Personal information
Born (1971-03-01) 1 March 1971 (age 47)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height182 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight89 kg (14 st 0 lb)
Playing information
PositionFullback, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1992–93 Manly-Warringah 15 8 50 0 132
1994–95 North Sydney 37 15 5 0 70
1996–99 Sydney Roosters 81 29 303 0 722
2000–02 New Zealand Warriors 53 12 195 1 439
Total 186 64 553 1 1363
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2006–11 New Zealand Warriors 164 81 3 80 49
2012–15 Penrith Panthers 100 45 0 55 45
2017–18 Wests Tigers 43 18 0 25 42
2019– Penrith Panthers 0 0 0 0
Total 307 144 3 160 47
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2015 Prime Minister's XIII 1 1 0 0 100
As of 26 December 2018
Source: [1][2]

Ivan Cleary (born 1 March 1971) is the head coach of the Penrith Panthers in the NRL and an Australian former rugby league footballer. He is a former head coach of the Wests Tigers, the New Zealand Warriors and the Penrith Panthers. As a player, Cleary was a goal-kicking fullback who played club football in Australia and New Zealand, setting a new record for most points scored in a season during the 1998 NRL Premiership.

Early life[edit]

Cleary grew up in the Sydney Northern Beaches' suburb of Beacon Hill, New South Wales //3

Playing career[edit]

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles[edit]

Originally a goal-kicking fullback, Cleary was a Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles junior before moving to play Reserve Grade with the Sea Eagles in 1992 and 1993. He started his first grade career with the Sea Eagles in 1992 playing two games before getting his chance after the team's first choice fullback Matthew Ridge suffered a season-ending injury in mid-1993. Cleary filled the fullback spot and also proved himself an accurate goal-kicker, filling in for Ridge on both counts and helping Manly to 4th place and a finals berth where they were bundled out 4-16 by the Brisbane Broncos in the Qualifying Final.

In his 15 first grade games for Manly, Cleary scored 8 tries and kicked 50 goals (from 71 attempts for 70.4%) for a total of 132 points.[3]

North Sydney Bears[edit]

With Ridge set to return in 1994 Cleary signed with Manly's local rivals the North Sydney Bears for 1994 and 1995 seasons where he mainly played in the centres due to the emergence of fullback Matt Seers.[4] He also was the team's 2nd choice goal kicker behind Jason Taylor and in 37 games for the Bears he scored 15 tries but kicked only 5 goals (from 6 attempts) for a total of 70 points.[5]

Sydney Roosters[edit]

Cleary began playing for the Sydney City Roosters from seasons 1996 through to the 1999 season making 81 appearances for the tri-colours. In 1998, Cleary was The NRL top point scorer with 284 points.[6]

New Zealand Warriors[edit]

Cleary signed with the New Zealand Warriors for the 2000 season before the fullback retired at the end of the 2002 season following the warriors grand final loss.[7]

Coaching career[edit]

After leaving the Warriors Cleary originally intended to join the Huddersfield Giants in the Super League but instead retired to take up an opportunity to join the Sydney Roosters as the NSWRL Premier League coach.[8] In 2004 he coached the team to the Premiership.

New Zealand Warriors[edit]

Cleary coached New Zealand to the 2011 NRL grand final against Manly; they lost 24–10. In the following weeks, Cleary announced he was leaving to join Penrith.[9]

Penrith Panthers[edit]

Early season injuries and some poor form from the Penrith Panthers saw a tough start to Cleary's return to Sydney with Penrith sitting 15th after Round 19 of the 2012 NRL season with a 4-13 record. In 2014, Cleary took Penrith to the preliminary final before losing to Canterbury. He was also named Dally M coach of the year in the same season. He was fired on 19 October 2015 after avoiding the wooden spoon with a final round victory over Newcastle.[10][11][12]

Wests Tigers[edit]

He was appointed as the coach of the Wests Tigers on 3 April 2017.[13] In Round 22 of the 2017 NRL Season, Cleary coached the West Tigers and coached against his son, Nathan Cleary who was playing for the Penrith Panthers in a losing effort by 28–14. In the 2018 season, Cleary guided Wests to a ninth-placed finish narrowly missing out on a finals spot. On 28 October 2018, the Wests Tigers released Cleary from the final two years of his contract. Cleary also sent a departing text message to the tigers playing group saying "G'day boys I hope this finds you well and enjoying your time off, I was writing to you in the hope of beating the press.. to let you know that I will no longer be your coach at Wests Tigers. "This is an extremely uncomfortable situation for me as I have genuine fondness for the club, and I have loved coaching you all.. I understand that this situation has caused some pain for people that I care about, along with putting the club in an awkward situation... I do not feel good about this. "I would have preferred to do this in person but time and circumstances have made that impossible. I hope we meet again soon and I wish you all the very best in the future. You have my number and I am always open for a chat if you wish. Iv."[14][15]

Penrith Panthers (2)[edit]

On the 29 October 2018, the Penrith Panthers confirmed the return of Ivan Cleary as head coach, on a 5-year deal, beginning in 2019.[16] Ivan will link up with his son Nathan, and begin his second stint as head coach at the Penrith Panthers.


  1. ^ Shawn Dollin and Andrew Ferguson (18 October 2015). "Ivan Cleary". Rugbyleagueproject.com.
  2. ^ Ferguson, Shawn Dollin and Andrew. "Ivan Cleary - Summary - Rugby League Project". Rugbyleagueproject.org. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  3. ^ Shawn Dollin and Andrew Ferguson (19 October 2015). "Custom Match List". Rugbyleagueproject.org.
  4. ^ "Ivan Cleary on Nathan Cleary and returning as an NRL coach". Nrl.com. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  5. ^ Ferguson, Shawn Dollin and Andrew. "Custom Match List - Rugby League Project". Rugbyleagueproject.org. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Ivan Cleary's rugby league career". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Ivan Cleary bids early farewell to Warriors". Stuff.co.nz. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  8. ^ Warriors coach Ivan Cleary - who is he really? Sunday Star-Times, 21 September 2008
  9. ^ "Michael Brown: Warriors must retain grand final team". Nzherald.co.nz. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Penrith Panthers axe coach Ivan Cleary after NRL season of struggle". ABC News.
  11. ^ Press, Australian Associated (19 October 2015). "Anthony Griffin in running to replace sacked Penrith coach Ivan Cleary". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Cleary named NRL Coach of the Year". Nrl.com. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Wests Tigers announce Cleary as head coach". Nrl.com. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  14. ^ https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/10/27/ivan-cleary-texts-farewell-message-to-wests-tigers-players/
  15. ^ https://wwos.nine.com.au/nrl/ivan-cleary-slammed-benny-elias-wests-tigers-penrith-panthers/527524aa-29b4-4322-9b72-28b18222c570
  16. ^ "Cleary appointed Panthers head coach". Penrith Panthers. 2018-10-29. Retrieved 2018-10-30.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tony Kemp
New Zealand Warriors

Succeeded by
Brian McClennan
Preceded by
Matthew Elliott
Penrith Panthers

Succeeded by
Anthony Griffin
Preceded by
Mick Cronin
Most points in an NRL season

Succeeded by
Hazem El-Masri