Cameron Ciraldo, Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers, next manager, news, breaking news

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The Wests Tigers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are locked in a gripping ‘arm wrestle’ against Penrith assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo, with both clubs hoping to make the talented mentor their next head coach.

But he has now been tipped to snub both and stay with the Panthers, hoping for a shock third option next season.

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Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe asked the young manager to choose the joint venture club, saying the struggling franchise was “a real opportunity”.

“He’s one of many (options). Certainly his credentials are exactly that, he’s obviously done a great job with what he’s done with Penrith, he’s certainly in the mix like others too,” Pascoe said on Fox League. NRL360 Wednesday night.

“If you really dive into the fundamentals of this club and where we are, I don’t think it’s a hard sell, I think it’s a real opportunity, the foundation is laid there.”

Ciraldo recently visited the Tigers’ unopened Center of Excellence and met power brokers at the club, and also spoke to Bulldogs influential figure Phil Gould – meaning the ‘fight is on’ for the coach pending.

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“There’s pretty good mail around today that Gus (Gould) also had talks with Cameron Ciraldo, and he may have toured the facilities as well, I’m not too sure about the second party,” Brent Read said.

“But he’s definitely spoken to Cameron Ciraldo, so the fight is on, the showdown is on.”

But Phil Rothfield believes facing either of the two struggling clubs would put the young manager under “quite a lot of stress” – and that could leave Ciraldo waiting for a better opportunity.

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“There are a lot of people saying he’s going to stay at Penrith, he’s getting close to $400,000 as an assistant coach,” Rothfield said.

“He’s going to get a pretty big pay rise here for a guy who’s never coached a first-year rugby league team,” replied Braith Anasta.

“He’s going to be under quite a lot of stress and he’s a 37-year-old, young family, not the most attractive Canterbury and Wests Tigers franchises,” Rothfield added.

“I think he could wait a year and see what else happens, will St George come next year? I don’t know. Are they a bit more attractive? I don’t know. “

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Despite the risks of bringing on a rookie coach, Ciraldo presents an unusual prospect considering he’s essentially taken charge of the Panthers in recent days while regular head coach Ivan Cleary battles injury.

“If you listen to people, he’s basically coaching Penrith right now because Ivan has this knee problem, he’s been hospitalized,” Rothfield said.

“Cameron has been training a lot there at the moment, so we can say he hasn’t coached an NRL side, but he is at the moment in many ways.”

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