Ivan Cleary snaps at NRL journalist's question after Panthers rocked by ugly development

Reporters peppered the Penrith coach about the controversy.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary lost his patience with reporters after being quizzed about the legal drama surrounding Taylan May. The Panthers centre has been stood down indefinitely by the NRL after he was charged with allegedly punching his wife in the face and leg during an argument at a western Sydney home in April.

May was arrested and charged earlier this month with domestic violence-related assault occasioning bodily harm and two counts of stalking or intimidation. The 22-year-old has pleaded not guilty and appeared at Penrith Local Court on Tuesday, where his lawyer said May would fight all three charges at a court hearing next year in March, just before the start of the new season.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary snapped at reporters when asked multiple questions about stood down NRL star Taylan May. Pic: Fox League/Getty
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary snapped at reporters when asked multiple questions about stood down NRL star Taylan May. Pic: Fox League/Getty

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday that Penrith have opened discussions with league bosses about possible salary cap relief considering May is not able to play as part of the NRL's no fault stand down policy. Not surprisingly, May's domestic violence charges and likely sidelining for the remainder of the season were major questions asked of Cleary when the Penrith coach fronted the media on Tuesday.

Cleary refused to comment when asked by one reporter how big a blow it was losing May for the remainder of the season. “We already said I’m not going to mention it. I’m not going to talk about it mate," the Penrith coach said after the club put out a media release before the press conference to indicate they were not talking about May.

The questions about the sidelined centre kept rolling in though, with Cleary getting quite annoyed with one journalist after having to repeat his stance on the 22-year-old. Even though the reporter tried to frame the question around the disappointment of Penrith missing one of their star players, Cleary snapped back: “I’m not going to talk about it. It’s a legal matter."


A club staffer eventually had to step in remind media that the club had put out a statement explaining that no comments about May would be forthcoming. The timing of his standing down by the NRL comes at a challenging time for the Panthers, who will already be missing five other stars for Saturday’s game against the Dragons due to State of Origin duties.

One of those Origin stars is fullback Dylan Edwards, who has been picked to make his debut in Michael Maguire's new-look Blues side at the expense of former captain, James Tedesco. Edwards has been rewarded for his sensational form and consistency over a number of years now, having won three straight premierships with the Panthers and the 2022 Clive Churchill Medal.

Pictured left to right, Dylan Edwards and James Tedesco.
Dylan Edwards is set to make his NSW Origin debut after being picked at fullback ahead of James Tedesco. Pic: Getty

“I’m really happy for Dyl,” Cleary said about his livewire fullback. “He’s been such a soldier for us for so long. He played all the big games and he’s always been one of our best. This year I reckon he’s stepped it up even more. To edge out such a great player in Teddy, I think that speaks volumes for how well he’s going. I think he’s primed for this sort of opportunity.”

The success of Cleary's Panthers means they've been one of the hardest-hit clubs at Origin time and this year is no different. But the coach says just like in previous years, he's confident the players available will be able to do the job. “It’s a challenge, but it’s one we’ve faced before,” he said. “It puts your systems and your culture under the microscope, and all we can do is worry about how we play. I just hope that our loyal Panthers community come out and support the boys this Saturday night.”

with agencies