Ivan Cleary has ended speculation on a move to Penrith next season by confirming he "intends" on honouring the final two years of his contract with the Wests Tigers.
In a prepared two-minute statement on Saturday, Cleary said he was not aware Penrith chairman Dave O'Neill would discuss the club's coaching future during a recent meeting.
Cleary insisted no offer had been made to return to his former club, but immediately informed Tigers bosses about the Panthers' approach on Monday.
Penrith supremo Phil Gould insists Cleary's decision to inform Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe of the development prompted the club to eventually cut ties with Anthony Griffin.
"When I was approached by the Panthers initially I had no idea it was about coaching their club," Cleary said on Saturday.
"I was told in that meeting that the club were looking at the future of the head coaching position. I advised the Panthers of my ongoing contract status with the Wests Tigers.
"I subsequently advised the chair and CEO of the Wests Tigers of the discussions I'd had with the Panthers."
Cleary, who refused to take further questions on the matter, said he was shocked by Penrith's decision to fire Anthony Griffin earlier this week.
Then he allayed any concerns about serving the final two years of his current deal.
"I am enjoying my contribution at this club. The club's growing nicely. Everyone associated with this club should be proud of the direction it's heading in," he said.
"I respect all the people and supporters involved with this club and I intend to honour this contract."
Pressed again on whether he would stay at Concord until the end of his contract, Cleary said: "I intend to honour my contract, yes."
Cleary's comments mean the Panthers, who appointed Cameron Ciraldo as interim coach, are likely to look elsewhere to fill their coaching vacancy for at least the next two years.
Panthers Group chief executive Brian Fletcher this week said the club would be willing to wait two years before asking Cleary to return and unite with son Nathan.
A handshake deal to come in 2021 could make his relationship with the Tigers untenable.
Nathan has one more year to serve on his deal at the Panthers but is free to field offers at the end of this season, paving the way to link with his dad at the Tigers in 2020.
Cleary reiterated his desire to work with Nathan at some stage during their careers.
"It is common knowledge that my son Nathan and I have acknowledged our desire to work together at some time. That remains the case," he said.
Michael Maguire, Wayne Bennett and Des Hasler have been tossed up as potential candidates to take up the role at Penrith next year.