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Ivan Cleary urges ‘rock bottom’ Penrith Panthers to ‘come together’

Sporting News logo Sporting News 17/05/2019
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He conceded their confidence is ‘rock bottom’ but coach Ivan Cleary’s admission the Penrith Panthers must ‘come together as a team’ was the most alarming aspect of the coach’s post-match assessment.

Cleary’s charges ended Friday’s 30-10 home loss to the New Zealand Warriors in an even deeper hole after slumping to their eighth loss in 10 games to sit dead last on the NRL ladder.

The Panthers have been plagued by rumours they are a divided team after a tumultuous period that has seen Anthony Griffin sacked and former general manager of football Phil Gould walking out amid reports of a rift with coach Cleary.

Speaking after the Warriors loss Cleary all-but admitted his side’s lack of cohesion on the field is a product of the disunity off it.

“What could go wrong does go wrong … I don’t have all the answers for sure,” a dejected Cleary said.

“We’re working away in the background and there’s a few things that we need to fix up along the way but I think the team, we have to come together as a team at some point.

“Until that time, I think that’s the crucial thing right now is that we actually come together as a team because right now we’re not, and that’s being shown on the field.”

He added when asked if his Panthers are lacking confidence after failing to live up the hype that saw them listed among the pre-season favourites to win the premiership.

“I think it’s there for everyone to see where we’re at at the moment,” Cleary said.

“(We were) beaten in most areas throughout the game, that’s where it’s at.

“Our confidence is rock bottom, that was obvious tonight … it’s tough times, certainly.”

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