Barrett given a spell by Panthers

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has no idea how long assistant Trent Barrett will be away from the Panthers as he sorts out his future, with the former NSW State of Origin star linked to the head coaching role at NRL rivals Manly.

Barrett, who is believed to be close to signing a deal to take over from Geoff Toovey at the Sea Eagles next year, was asked not to return to Panthers’ training until he finalised talks with Manly.

“I honestly don’t know what’s happened. I’m not going to stand here and say there’s nothing going on, because we all know there is, that’s why you’re all here,” Cleary said.

“It’s just a distraction for everybody. It’s not the Penrith Panthers’ issue.”

When asked how long Barrett would be away, Cleary said he had “no idea.”

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