DISCIPLINE. Respect. Trust. With these three buzz words, incoming Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary yesterday began his assault on the 2012 season.
Cleary called a snap meeting inside Panthers Leagues Club at 8am and made his first address to Penrith’s NRL, Toyota Cup and Windsor Wolves squads.
Panthers general manager of football, Phil Gould, also spoke to the players.
Cleary did not talk for long – but said enough for players like winger Michael Gordon to take an immediate interest.
“Gus did most of the talking. Ivan was quiet and reserved but what he did say, everyone took on board,” Gordon told The Daily Telegraph. “He spoke about discipline, respect and trust.
Cleary also emphasised the absolute need for punctuality: “On time is late,” Gordon said. “We should all be there early and ready.””We will use those key words through the pre-season. He said if we work hard and play hard, everything else will go from there. There is a fresh feel at the club and everyone is pretty excited.”
Gordon’s optimism though isn’t though shared by bookmakers with TAB Sportsbet all but writing off the Panthers.
The betting agency has Penrith paying $26 – alongside Canberra – to win the 2012 premiership, only in front of Gold Coast ($34).
“We know what Ivan did with the Warriors and we hope he can bring some of that success to us,” Gordon said. “We’re looking to have a big season. We don’t want to say where we will finish but we will play hard and work hard.
“There were about 100 players in the room (for yesterday’s meeting). It was good to meet to the new staff and break the ice before full training starts.”
Penrith starts official pre-season training today from 7.30am – “We will slug it out in the Penrith summer,” Gordon said.