Sheens free to double up
Dual purpose … Tim Sheens won't be forced to relinquish his role as coach of the Kangaroos. Photo: Getty Images
WESTS TIGERS boss Stephen Humphreys is adamant there will be no pressure on Tim Sheens to give up his Australian coaching commitments to focus solely on club duties.
The coaching merry-go-round took another turn during the week with Trent Robinson appointed to replace sacked Roosters coach Brian Smith. That leaves the Warriors job vacant, with Sheens linked to the post despite being under contract until the end of 2014.
Sheens is the most experienced coach in NRL history, winning four premierships in a career spanning 28 years. However, the last of those titles was seven years ago with the Tigers and his teams have only made the play-offs three times in the past 15 years. The club was under pressure to perform after entering the season as premiership favourites but failed to qualify for the finals. While there have been mitigating circumstances - key players Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Gareth Ellis and several others spent stints in the casualty ward - the pressure is growing after another season ended in disappointment.
Coaches under similar pressure have given up their representative roles in recent years - Neil Henry stepped away from the Maroons and David Furner gave up assisting Sheens at the Kangaroos last year, although he has returned to the national set-up. Humphreys said Sheens won't be forced to follow suit.
''We think Tim coaching the Australian side brings more positives than it does negatives,'' Humphreys said. ''The schedule is more manageable these days now with a stand-alone Test during the year against New Zealand. That's no issue and the rest of it is at the end of the year, so it's hardly a distraction. Tim's the kind of guy who works an enormous amount of hours and it won't detract from what he's doing with us.''
According to a market framed by Betstar, sacked Eels mentor Stephen Kearney is the $2.50 favourite to take over at the Warriors, ahead of David Kidwell ($4.75) and Sheens ($5).
The Warriors are in the market for a new coach after recently parting ways with Brian McClennan, who was contracted until the end of 2013.
While the Roosters have resolved their head coaching future, Robinson will be under immediate pressure. The club has parted company early with their last five coaches - Smith, Brad Fittler, Chris Anderson, Ricky Stuart and Graham Murray. One of them, dual-premiership winner Anderson, warned Robinson would be next if he didn't perform immediately.
''They don't muck about, there is no superannuation in the coaching jobs there,'' Anderson said. ''At Eastern Suburbs they are ruthless in the fact they want success and they're not prepared to wait for it. If you can't give it to them, they'll get someone else. I feel for any coach getting the sack, it's not a good time for anyone. We rely on our results and they're not there - especially when you go to a place like Easts - you don't get much time to create what you want to create. It's a warning for anyone who goes there. Results are the only thing you're going to be judged by.''
Assistant coach Matthew Elliott said he felt for Smith, the man who brought him to Bondi Junction. He was unsure how the development would affect his future. ''I've got a contract for next year, but that's all I can tell you at the moment,'' he said.
Roosters CEO Steve Noyce said the club had yet to finalise its coaching structure, including Robinson's assistants.