Tigers Pounce on Unwanted Panthers Caretaker

By Staff Writer    |    NRL, Rugby League   |   Aug 3, 2011 12:03 PM

Interim Penrith coach Steve Georgallis has signed with the Wests Tigers as an assistant coach after missing out on the full time role at the Panthers which went to Ivan Cleary.

The Panthers have won four of the six games they have played under Georgallis, with the only losses in that time coming against top four sides Manly and North Queensland.

“Steve Georgallis has informed the Penrith Panthers he has accepted a role as assistant coach of the Wests Tigers club for the 2012 season,” said Penrith boss Phil Gould.

“On behalf of the Panthers board of directors and I’m sure all Panthers fans, we would like to sincerely thank Steve for his contributions to the club.

“Personally I am glad he has decided to stay in the NRL rather than accept opportunities overseas. I know he will bring a lot to the Tigers and he will learn a lot working with a great coach like Tim Sheens.

“In the meantime, we know Steve will continue with his best efforts to qualify the Panthers for the top eight final series this season.”

Georgallis is believed to have received a number of offers from UK Super League Clubs, but he was always keen to continue his career in Australia, and keep working towards his goal of becoming a full time coach in the NRL.

The Wests Tigers have been on the lookout for quality assistant coaches after Royce Simmons and Steve Folkes announced that they would be moving on at the end of the season. Another of Sheens’ assistant coaches, Peter Gentle is yet to commit to the club beyond next season.

Georgallis played the 2000 season with the Wests Tigers, and also played 148 games for pre-merger entity, the Western Suburbs Magpies.

Meanwhile the Wests Tigers have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wests Magpies grand final defeat at the hands of the great St George team, and Arthur Simmons (whose pose with Norm Provan has been immortalised on the NRL premiers trophy) set tongues wagging when he claimed that Benji Marshall was the greatest player he had ever seen.

That is heady praise from a man that played against rugby league immortals Graeme Langlands, John Raper and Reg Gasnier in their prime.

“He’s out of this world. I have not seen anyone better,” Summons said.

“He is a freak. There’s none better than him. For him to try and keep producing that effort, and that magic that he produces every week is a major ask.”