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Coach Cleary celebrates 400-game milestone

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has described Thursday night’s game against Parramatta as a new opportunity for his side heading into the first instalment of the Battle of the West for the 2023 season.

Coming off a bye, the Panthers are hoping to build off the back of their Round 2 win against the Rabbitohs, with Cleary stating their main focus during the week off has been on their attack.

“Our defence is definitely a foundation that we value and work really hard at so we are happy with that for the most part,” Cleary said.

“Our attack hasn’t been where we wanted it to be but we are still working on that.”

Final Word: Round 4

Heading into the Battle of the West, Cleary discussed the rivalry and what he enjoys most when the two teams face each other.

“I think the fans are the first thing, there is a real kind of vibe around that. There’s a lot of Parramatta fans out this way. That’s the start of it, they all get involved,” he said.

“There’s also a lot of history there, we’ve had some good battles over the last few years, they have some great players in that team and it’s a good contest all around.”

Last time we met: Panthers v Eels

Ahead of his 400th game as an NRL head coach this week, Cleary discussed his key to longevity and thoughts on his milestone achievement.

“I guess it’s a survival thing, if you’re a good survivor you got to have good allies and I’ve had a lot of good help over the years, from mentors, to management, to assistant coaches, to players and family of course,” the milestone coach said.

“Probably just being a part of a team, I have been fortunate enough to go straight from being a player to a coach. So, I have always been a survivor for a long time now and that’s been the best part of it.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.