The great “what if”.
Would we have tasted earlier success?
Would we have seen Cleary leave the club for another?
We couldn’t have afforded both JT and Jimmy Maloney, so would this have improved our team and young players, or would it have created a deficit that we wouldn’t have tasted the success of the past 4 years?
We will never know.
I have similar what of thoughts from the past, such as;
What if Hasler never signed with Manly? Would we have achieved success sooner but at the cost of loosing Alexander and/or Carter?
What if Kevin Dann had stuck it out rather than retired early?
What if Spud Carroll never left?
What if Gower announced his intentions sooner and Wallace didn’t leave?
The world is full of such “what ifs”, the mind boggles at what may have happened, but with certainty we would never know.
Definitely all speculation.
In regards to Cleary, I think that having Thurston here would have meant holding Nathan back a year or 2, but it would have also given him another good mentor for those couple of years.
I mean, it worked out for Penrith in the end. Thurston at Penrith for 4 years from 2014 would have him retiring around 2018.
Nathan Cleary got he debut in first grade at Penrith at 2016. Around that time Ivan was let go by Phil Gould and he left for the Tigers.
I wonder how negotiations between Penrith and Nathan Cleary would have went if Thurston was in the 7 jersey. He could have very well signed with Wests to be with Ivan.
So while it would have been nice to see how Thurston played out at Penrith, I’m happy with how it all panned out.