Cleary was hit with speculation last season when he was off-contract and Anthony Griffin was sacked as Panthers coach.

There were rumours that the young halfback wanted to join his father Ivan at the Tigers, but Cleary has rubbished them.

"There was even articles saying that I was a done deal [at the Wests Tigers], it was weird," he told Fox Sports.

“I don’t even know how that came about. I kind of said to my manager from the start of the year that I didn’t even want to think about a contract or any of that until the season was done so I could focus on my footy.

"I was never really contemplating that to be honest, I think the facilities we have here, the people, the coaches, the players, I just love them too much and it was too hard to walk away from."

Ivan Cleary was appointed Penrith coach at the end of October.

Before that speculation was rife about what would the father-son/coach-player duo would do, and the 21-year-old admits the controversy affected his whole family.

"It was kind of tough at the time, moreso on my mum and my little siblings because the Cleary name was just getting brought into disrepute constantly,” he said.

"Me and dad are kind of used to it now and that’s the kind of world you live in when you play footy, but the little brother and sister were going to school and copping flack about it constantly."