On Nine’s 100% Footy in June, Gould spoke highly of Ciraldo as speculation about his future ran riot.
“Cameron Ciraldo has come through 10 or 11 years with the Panthers in the system,” Gould said at the time.
“He came there as a second-tier player in the back end of his career. I have coached an under-20s team to two grand finals, winning a premiership.
“He was then promoted to assistant first-grade coach. He was the interim there for a while and he’s served Ivan Cleary really well over the last three years. They’ve been to two grand finals, they’ve won a premiership and they’ll probably win it again this year.”
“He’s in a very, very good environment with a great club and he’s cradled all those boys from birth. He’s known them all since they were teenagers. It’s the perfect environment out there for him at the moment, but there will come a time where he is either going to be the head coach of the Panthers in the future or he’s going to have to branch out and learn (about) other clubs and what being a head coach is all about.”
That time has now come with Ciraldo set to take over from interim Bulldogs coach Mick Potter, who has overseen something of a revival at Belmore since taking the reins from Barrett.
The Panthers have now lost their two assistant coaches for next year with Andrew Webster set to join the New Zealand Warriors as head coach next year.
“I’m sure Matty Cameron and Ivan have something in the pipeline,” Fletcher said.
“Peter Wallace and Ben Harden will step up as well.”
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