Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo has inked a five-year deal to become the head coach of the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Ciraldo had been heavily linked with the vacant job at Belmore after Trent Barrett left the role earlier this season.
The 37-year-old will spend the remainder of the season at the Panthers before completing the move at the end of the year.
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Ciraldo turned down a five-year deal from the Wests Tigers to remain on Penrith’s coaching staff having spent several years as Ivan Cleary’s understudy at the Panthers.
Nine news captured Ciraldo having lunch with Bulldogs sponsors last month, increasing speculation of a move to the family club.
Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo has inked a five-year deal to join the Bulldogs. (Getty)
Ciraldo is understood to have informed the Panthers of his decision at training on Sunday, and he departs the reigning premiers with their best wishes.
“On behalf of all at Panthers, we would like to congratulate Cameron for his appointment as an NRL head coach,” Panthers CEO Matt Cameron said in a statement on Sunday afternoon.
“Although we’re saddened to see Cameron depart the club at the end of the season, we’re thrilled to see him progress to the next chapter of his NRL coaching career.
“A highly-respected member of the coaching staff, Cameron has played his part in making our club a source of community pride, and was influential in providing an environment for players to thrive.
“We wish Cameron, his wife Kim and their children all the best in the next chapter of their lives, but we are excited for him to finish the season at Panthers.”
Canterbury Bulldogs general manager of football Phil Gould speaks to the media at Belmore Sports Ground. (Getty)
A former Sharks, Knights and Panthers player, Ciraldo was promoted to the role of assistant coach at Penrith in 2017.
Canterbury general manager Phil Gould thinks highly of the Sydney-born coach and handed him the caretaker role when the Panthers sacked Anthony Griffin back in 2018.
“Cameron Ciraldo has come through 10 or 11 years with the Panthers in the system,” Gould said on Nine’s 100% Footy in June.
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“He came there as a second-tier player in the back end of his career. He coached an under-20s team to two grand finals, winning a premiership.
“He was promoted then 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.”
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