"At the moment, Sheensy's a perfect fit, if he doesn't have a club job to do" ... NSW captain Paul Gallen on Australia coach Tim Sheens, left. Photo: Ian Hitchcock
THE prospect of a full-time Australian rugby league coach - which garnered the support yesterday of NSW captain Paul Gallen - will be put to the ARL Commission during discussions as to whether Tim Sheens will coach the Kangaroos to next year's World Cup.
The ARLC will confirm by the end of the year whether Sheens will continue his successful stint as the national coach next year. And with Sheens without an NRL team following his sacking by Wests Tigers, the game's officials have an opportunity to follow the lead of the Queensland and NSW State of Origin set-ups by appointing a full-time coach.
That prospect has grown legs since Maroons coach Mal Meninga said that the Australian coach should be full-time, bringing the position into line with other major sports such as rugby union, football and cricket.
Sheens is yet to confirm what he plans to do next year, and did not wish to pre-empt any decision by officials by discussing his future with the Kangaroos. It appears a given, though, that Sheens will be appointed again, after his side's 18-10 victory over New Zealand on Saturday night. Whether he does so on a full-time or part-time basis appears now to be a question that will at least be put to the commissioners.
Gallen, who has been NSW captain during the Blues' transition from part-time to full-time coach, gave the prospect of Sheens taking on the role full-time his blessing. ''It certainly couldn't hurt,'' Gallen said.
''If he didn't have club commitments … I wouldn't want to see a club coach pull out of coaching a club side just to coach Australia. But at the moment, Sheensy's a perfect fit, if he doesn't have a club job to do.
''Whether he's full-time or not, I think he's the man for the job.''
The issue for commissioners will be that in some years - like this one - the Australians play just two matches. However, NSW officials justify having a full-time Origin coach because he can head up the state's high-performance unit, and develop talent.
A full-time Australian coach could work with the states, as well as run a high-performance unit.
Andrew Hill, the ARLC's director of league integration and development, said he would discuss with management and commissioners whether to appoint Sheens for next year over the next two months.