Axed Sheens covets Cup glory - and NRL return
Big year ahead … coach Tim Sheens looks on as Paul Gallen models the new Kangaroos jumper on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Johnson
IF IT was up to him, Tim Sheens would coach until he dies.
"I'd do this forever if I could … I don't know if I can but I'll certainly try," he said.
He still believes he has plenty to offer as a NRL coach but if he returns from England without the World Cup later this year, the reality is he could be out of a job altogether.
Having been shown the door by the Wests Tigers at the end of last season after 10 years in charge of the joint-venture, the 63-year-old has 12 months to prepare the Kangaroos for their redemption mission at this year's World Cup in Britain.
Sheens is making no secret of his desire to coach a fifth club in a career that spans almost three decades, but his priority is to ensure Australia replace New Zealand as world champions.
He knows failure to do so will heap pressure on his position as the coach of the national side.
"I do hope to coach again at NRL level but my focus at the moment is the Anzac Test followed by the World Cup," Sheens said. "What will be after that will be. We have to do well here and I've got to make sure the Australians come back as winners or there'll be a lot of pressure on me personally, let alone Australia.
"Everyone loves to see Australia beaten occasionally, but we want that world champ tag back."
The nature of coaching will provide plenty of avenues for Sheens to return to the NRL.
There are four new coaches in the competition this season, while there were seven new faces at different clubs for the start of last season.
Since 2008, only Craig Bellamy and John Cartrwright have managed to keep their job at their respective clubs.
Despite the controversy and drama that surrounded his exit from the Tigers, Sheens insists he still has the desire and ability to return to the NRL.
"Football is football - players move on and coaches move on but that doesn't mean your use-by date is there," Sheens said.
"Plenty of officials move to different clubs, players as well and coaches as well. It's a matter of making sure you don't get cynical about it because cynicism is the thing that makes you an old man.''
Sheens' first Test as the full-time coach of the Kangaroos will be at Canberra Stadium on April 19 when Australia host the Kiwis in a one-off match.
Sheens believes the return of Sonny Bill Williams to the 13-man code only adds to the difficulty of knocking off New Zealand.
"With Sonny Bill Williams back in the system and a New Zealand side always strong, you don't want to lose a Test match this year leading into the World Cup and put a bit of a panic into the place," he said.
"That Test match in Canberra is going to be one of our hardest games.
''There's no doubt having Williams back will boost their confidence, so we need to win the game and then that becomes a part of our preparation."