The Wests Tigers' search for a new head coach will continue after highly-rated Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo withdrew from contention.
The Tigers sacked coach Michael Maguire earlier this month and appointed Brett Kimmorley to the role on an interim basis, but had approached Ciraldo to gauge his interest in coaching full-time from next year.
Ciraldo, off-contract at the end of the season, is often credited as the architect of Penrith's premiership-winning defence and has been declared "a head coach in waiting" by current Panthers head coach Ivan Cleary.
But on Saturday evening, the Tigers released a statement confirming Ciraldo would not be joining the club next year.
"The club has been contacted by Cameron Ciraldo and his management this afternoon and they have advised the club that he is not in a position to accept the role of Head Coach at this juncture in his career," the statement read.
"Whilst disappointing, we respect his decision, and we will continue with the selection process in appointing our club's Head Coach."
Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis said on Tuesday that the club hoped to confirm their new head coach by the first week of July.
Shane Flanagan, Kristian Woolf and Paul Green are among the available options for Canterbury, the Tigers and Warriors to consider approaching.