Cameron Ciraldo will stay at Penrith in 2022, but his decision has left the club with a major dilemma to face next year.

A chat with Penrith’s boom young players was all it took to convince Cameron Ciraldo to knock back an offer to join Cronulla’s coaching staff next season.

The Panthers dressing room erupted last night when coach Ivan Cleary told the players that the popular Ciraldo was staying on as his assistant for 2022.

Incoming Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon wanted Ciraldo – a former Sharks player – as his wingman – and nearly got his way.

“Cam thought about it because he was worried that the boys here had got sick of hearing the same voice for so long – he has been here for nearly 10 years and groomed a lot of these kids,” a Panthers source said.

“But the players were adamant that they wanted him to stay and you could just see the energy in the room lift when Ivan made the announcement after the game (against Newcastle).”

The Panthers’ dilemma is that they will have to go through the same situation in 12 months.

Ciraldo – a first grade coach in waiting – is close mates with Fitzgibbon and comes off contract at the end of 2022.

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