Tim Sheens has all but rolled out the red carpet for Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo, declaring Wests Tigers want a "development" coach to replace Michael Maguire.
Maguire's three-and-a-half-year tenure at the NRL club came to an end on Tuesday, told by Tigers bosses his contract was terminated just hours after running a training session and picking this week's team.
Brett Kimmorley will take over as interim coach ahead of Sunday's clash with Manly, but head of football Sheens already has eyes on securing the next full-time coach.
Sheens would not discuss names, but indicated he wants someone adept at working with the club's array of promising juniors as well as guiding senior players.
That is something Ciraldo has become renowned for at defending premiers Penrith.
"Of course (Ciraldo's) name is going to be speculated," Sheens said.
"At the end of the day the usual names will be thrown around
"We're talking about a development coach here who is prepared to work with young ones as well as give the senior ones a go."
Maguire's exit came as Penrith engage with Ciraldo's management on a contract extension to stay at the club for next year.
The Panthers know Ciraldo will be in great demand given both the Warriors and Canterbury are also searching for replacements after axing their coaches.
But they want to hold on to their defensive mastermind until he believes the right club is there to jump to.
And the Tigers believe they can be an attractive option with the talent in their pipeline.
While Sheens was all but resigned to the club missing the finals for an 11th straight season after winning just three of their opening 12 games, he insisted the future was bright.
Pleading for patience from long-suffering fans, he pointed to the fact Western Suburbs had won the under-17s Harold Matthews Cup this year, while the under-19s were also finalists.
"We need someone for at least three or four years to take control of that and bring the kids through," Sheens said.
"We're going to have highs and lows as they gain experience.
"We've got a couple of good guys coming in next year.
"We just need to make sure there are spaces there for our good kids to develop into."
If Ciraldo is not the man to take over, former Cronulla coach John Morris would loom as another option given his work with juniors there.
Shane Flanagan and Paul Green also remain on the look out for jobs, while Tonga coach Kristian Woolf and Sydney Roosters assistant Jason Ryles are other options.
Ciraldo was briefly approached by the Tigers at the end of last year as part of an earlier review into the joint-venture's poor performances, before they decided to stick with Maguire.
Sheens was not in Australia with the club then, but said time had run out on Maguire after the poor start to this season and with the need to ramp up recruitment for 2023 and beyond.
"It's not only results, it's about our future," Sheens said.
"I couldn't see or recommend that Michael would be here in three or four years' time."
Maguire could be as an option for the Warriors, with his axing coming just hours after Nathan Brown was pushed out of the Auckland-based club.
A premiership-winning mentor with South Sydney in 2014, Maguire already has a connection with New Zealand rugby league as coach of the Kiwis.