Penrith coach Ivan Cleary ripped for grand final snub

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·Sports Reporter
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Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary (pictured) during a press conference.
Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary (pictured) has caused frustration after not making himself available ahead of the NRL grad final. (Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has copped some frustration after apparently making himself scarce on grand final day to the media.

Cleary is helping prepare his team for their second NRL grand final day in two years with the Rabbitohs the final hurdle.

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However, Cleary appeared to turn down most interview requests this week after being burned by rival coach Wayne Bennet in the first week of the finals.

And on the biggest week in the rugby league calendar, Cleary also appeared to make himself largely unavailable.

Penrith Assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo took over most of the media role in the build-up to the game.

This sparked a strong response from Broncos great Gordon Tallis.

The Maroons great said the NRL needed to make sure the players and coaches were doing as much as they could to promote the game.

“We don’t pay as much as TV but we are still partners,” Tallis said on Triple M Radio.

“You’re not talking to me, in the States you can interview Michael Jordan two hours before he plays.

“That’s why all our players wear NBA gear.

“All the players walk the street with their hat backwards with a LeBron James singlet or Kobe Bryant because you watch those guys every week selling their brand.

“It’s not the coach’s fault, nor is it the player’s fault. It’s the game’s fault. We have got to be stronger on it."

NRL reporters hit out at Ivan Cleary

This sentiment was echoed after Fox Sports reporter James Hooper said Cleary had done himself a 'disservice'.

While Hooper said he understands the rivalry between Cleary and Bennett, he thought Penrith fans would have wanted to hear from their coach.

“He’s knocked back Triple M today for a pre-game interview. I think he’s done every single one when they have been requested across the course of this season.

“Given the magnitude of the game and what’s at stake, it’s not about the journalists, it’s about speaking to the fans. Penrith fans are entitled to hear from their coach but I think he’s done himself a disservice."

The Daily Telegraph reporter Paul Kent agreed.

Kent said the NRL must 'fix' this situation for future NRL grand finals so there isn't a repeat.

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