The Wests Tigers aren’t the only club who’s met with Penrith’s NRL coach-in-waiting Cameron Ciraldo.
Canterbury-Bankstown kingpin Phil Gould has also had a sit down with the in-demand Panthers assistant and his agent George Mimis.
While Ciraldo’s tour of the Wests Tigers Center of Excellence on Monday was made public within a matter of hours, Gould is attempting to keep his coaching candidate cards wrapped up tightly so no one can see.
It’ll be fascinating to see what type of spin Gus tries to put on the meeting with Ciraldo.
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.
Don’t forget, these two have history with Gould promoting Ciraldo to being the Panthers head coach back in 2018 when he sacked Anthony Griffin.
Ciraldo is also great mates with ex-Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett so will be well versed in how the landscape is shaped at Belmore.
Panthers supremo Brian Fletcher still firmly believes Ciraldo may well opt to remain with the premier for another season in 2023 as an assistant coach.
As it sits at the moment, Ciraldo is the highest paid assistant coach in the game and rightly so given his football IQ.
Much has been made about the Wests Tigers being prepared to table Ciraldo a five-year offer but in reality it’s his agent Mimis who has put those terms to the club.
Given the way the Tigers have cycled through Jason Taylor, Ivan Cleary and Michael Maguire in the last six seasons it’s a smart play from Mimis.
MORE NRL NEWS
EXPANSION: NRLW to expand to 10 teams as four more clubs added for season 2023
‘OFFERED ALLADIN’S CAVE’: Seibold’s fall a warning to Ciraldo, Tigers, Bulldogs
‘MIGHT NOT AFFORD HIM’: Salary cap drama amid Leilua’s ‘messy’ Cowboys switch
‘WASN’T GOING TO BE PICKED’: Johnson’s Warriors career at ‘delicate’ stage
PASCOE CHEERLEADERS JUST EMBARRASSING
Give me a spell with the pelicans trying to defend Wests Tigers invisible CEO Justin Pascoe around the sacking of Michael Maguire.
The reality is it’s now seven years and counting that Pascoe’s allegedly had control of the steering wheel at Concord — without a single finals appearance.
In that seven years the Tigers have sacked two coaches in Jason Taylor and Maguire as well as making the Pascoe-led ill-fated Ivan Cleary play.
And don’t get us started on the treatment of club legend’s Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall.
What makes it even worse is the fact the only time Pascoe has made headlines this year was by taking a week’s annual leave to head to the Northern Territory after Wests Tigers had started the season 0-5.
Leadership? Not so much.
SENIOR CHOOKS REV UP PRIME ANGUS
The Sydney Roosters senior players led an honesty session with the NRL side leading into the round 14 showdown with arch rivals Melbourne Storm.
One player who was particularly singled out for a strong appraisal in terms of form was backrower Angus Crichton.
While most of us thought Crichton’s return to form was more in line with trying to win back his NSW State of Origin jersey — the appraisal from the Roosters leadership group also seems to have played a major factor.
With NSW backrowers Tariq Sims and Ryan Matterson set to be snubbed for Origin II in Perth, Crichton is now very much back in the mix in terms of forcing his way back into the Blues 17.
Souths captain Cameron Murray will replace Sims as the Blues left edge starting backrower but the Blues still need to find a backrower for the bench who can also spend time in the middle if necessary.
Crichton fits the bill and a strong game against the Eels on Saturday night can rubberstamp his return to the Origin arena.
MADGE COURTS KIWIS IN CANBERRA
Axed Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has wasted no time ripping into his role as Kiwis coach ahead of the upcoming Test match against Tonga in rep round.
Maguire was spotted in Canberra having a coffee with the Green Machine’s Kiwi contingent including outstanding front rower Joe Tapine.
Tapine’s performance in a losing side against the Broncos in round 14 was out of this world and had the Raiders had some better direction from senior players they probably halt Brisbane’s seven-match winning run.
Raiders stars Jordan Rapana and Corey Harawira-Naera are also expected to be in the Kiwi Test team.
Another unsung player who looks set to force their way into the Kiwi squad is Penrith’s hardworking backrower Scott Sorensen.
The grand final winning forward flies under the radar in terms of making headlines every week but has been a brilliant find for the premiers.
It’s a nice touch given the family history with his uncles Dane and Kurt being two of New Zealand’s toughest forwards in the 1970s and 80s.
TIGERS JUMP THE GUN ON LEILUA RELEASE
The suggestion the North Queensland Cowboys are jammed for salary cap space throwing the Luciano Leilua deal into jeopardy is wide of the mark.
The truth is the Tigers telephoned the Cowboys on Tuesday to double-check they were still interested in Leilua being granted an early release.
The Cowboys crunched the numbers and then phoned the Tigers back to confirm they were in and would happily take the backrower effective immediately.
The Tigers then got a little bit trigger happy with the media release — catching the Cowboys off guard because they were still to dot the I’s and cross the T’s on all of the necessary paperwork.
Irrespective, the deal will go ahead.
If the Cowboys can get Leilua to produce his best form, it’s an outstanding mid-season pick up for North Queensland.
Even more so given young gun Heilum Luki is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.
Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!
WOOLF HUNTS BLUES STARS FOR TONGA
Despite being based on the other side of the world coaching St Helens in the UK Super League, Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has done a brilliant job in selecting an extremely strong line-up for the representative round Test match against New Zealand.
Woolf has been in touch with the majority of the Tonga squad on a regular basis to the point where he’s even selected a host of players who were either in the NSW Blues set-up or in line for a call-up.
Winger Daniel Tupou, five-eighth Kotoni Staggs, center Sifa Talaki and backrowers Keaon Koloamatangi and Haumole Olakau’atu were either in the Blues 17 for Origin I or on the radar yet Woolf has got them all to buy in to the Tongan Test team.
In the case of Blues incumbents Tupou and Staggs it left they had a major decision before they committed to NSW should they be selected in the line-up for Origin II on Sunday.
It explains why the New Zealand Warriors are looking at Woolf as a leading candidate to replace the departed Nathan Brown for next season and beyond.
Woolf will remain in the UK for the mid-season Test match with Dean Young and Wayne Bennett to coach the Tongan team.