Warriors departure not on Cleary's mind - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors departure not on Cleary's mind

Steve Jancetic 19/09/2011 06:58:15 PM Comments (0)

He's developed a squad capable of challenging for the NRL title for years to come, but Warriors coach Ivan Cleary says he'll have no regrets leaving it all behind to join Penrith in 2012.

The Warriors moved through to a preliminary final against Melbourne on Saturday night with a heart-stopping win over Wests Tigers - the memory of their embarrassing effort in losing to Brisbane a week early all but forgotten.

The show of confidence is hardly surprising given the youthful nature of the side, with youngsters Kevin Locke and Shaun Johnson leading the way as they continue to back their natural attacking instincts.

With that pair and the likes of Manu Vatuvei, Feleti Mateo and skipper Simon Mannering all under contract for the foreseeable future - and the club's under 20s and NSW Cup sides also playing preliminary finals this weekend - the future appears bright for the Warriors.

But it's a future without Cleary, who will join the Panthers on a three-year deal staring next season.

"I haven't thought about that too much," Cleary said.

"Certainly the foundations are very strong for the future of the club.

"I guess I'm happy for that and proud of my role in helping that."

The players are refusing to look beyond this year's campaign, with Locke crediting the self-belief within the squad as a key in their recovery against the Tigers.

"We all know we deserve to be here," Locke said.

"Shaun Johnson and James Maloney - they're not scared to try things and that's what we need in the team.

"Them with the likes of Feleti Mateo with all the ball skills in the world, it certainly helps the side."

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said it was obvious his side would have to do all they could to limit the Warriors' second-phase play, which has been a crucial part of their game all year.

"A lot of their game is based on offloads - that's an area that we have to be good at," Bellamy said.

"You know there's going to be some that come, it's how you respond when they do come."

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