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Wests Tigers face tough task dodging Sheens payout


Steve Mascord


Former Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens.

Former Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens. Photo: Getty Images

It's hard to see how Wests Tigers can avoid paying out Tim Sheens.

Offering him a lesser role at the club does not negate the fact that he has a contract as head coach which they - not him - have broken. These days the length of a coach's contract has no relation to how long he spends at the club - it simply indicates the size of the payout he'll get when he is sacked.

Sheens is entitled to stick to his guns and demand the full pay packet. However, while he's wrangling with the joint venture over this issue, other jobs could well pass him by.

Which brings us to the Warriors. Former Wests Tigers director Ben Elias says Sheens should go there. Others say he doesn't want to. But Warriors players have told the club who they want as coach - unequivocally.

"Tony Iro coming in, I love the guy," said Feleti Mateo. "I'd love for him to take over as head coach. It's obviously out of our hands but I think all the players have voiced their opinion on the situation. We're just sitting around waiting to see what happens.

“We've done some season reviews and that with the CEO and the coaches and stuff ... I think they know who we want and what we want. It's good because most clubs don't really give you that opportunity to voice what you want. To their credit, they're listening to the players and I hope they can come to a decision that will make everyone happy."

Iro has the support of the players, says Mateo, "100 per cent".

"I think he's a guy that all the boys would play for. He knows the game really well. He's an ex-player so he knows how to get the boys up emotionally too. I've said it lots of times – as far as coaching's concerned I think he ticks all the boxes so it will be nice to see him get the job.”

NRL clubs unhappy about internationals

There is quiet grumbling in NRL clubland about players taking part in the Tri-Nations in Europe.

England are playing Wales and France because Australia and New Zealand refused to play after a verbal undertaking was given to the players for a quiet spring ahead of next year's World Cup.

But there is no reason England should feel bound by an agreement between the old ARL and NRL players, is there? If the games seem low key, that's only because Australia and New Zealand refused to play Steve McNamara's men. Whose fault is that?

Instead of playing each other, Australia and New Zealand could each have played England in the southern hemisphere and the extra demand on players would have been exactly zero.

Having said all that, a symposium on representative football which makes the clubs feel they are part of the decision-making process isn't such a bad idea. At the moment they feel dictated to and in some situations that prompts intransigence.

Coach and forces

Catalan's straight-set exit from the Super League play-offs has helped Discord form a theory on the effect on players of departing coaches.

Looking at recent events at Parramatta, Huddersfield and others, I believe that if a successful coach announces he is moving on, players are inclined to be disheartened and drop their bundles. But if an unsuccessful coach leaves, players improve their performances because they want to impress the new man.

Do you agree? What examples support this theory and which ones disprove it?

Smith's Knight trip

So Jeremy Smith is off to Newcastle, as expected. So why the denials - ANGRY denials - from all concerned when the move was first floated in May? Sometimes, you really wonder what gets into people.

League's new force: Vanuatu

Congrats to the Vanuatu Rugby League, who play their first international against Greece in Port Vila on October 20, for attracting Ford as a major sponsor. Elsewhere, I hear there might be some minor changes in arrangements for the equally historic Thailand-Philippines game in Bangkok on the same weekend. More news as it comes to hand.

Let's go to the comments

Feedback time and Woppadego says Melbourne should have been made to release their players and should not be in this year's grand final. I disagree. There is no doubt Craig Bellamy is a great coach and he has some wonderful players at his disposal. But those players and coach also work very hard and we still can't say with any certainty that the group of players at the club in 2007 and 2009 would not have been there even if there had been no illicit payments (although the departures afterwards suggest it would have been difficult). The punishment was just and it's a good effort to be back in the grand final.

WallyGee and Peter spoke more about the Storm and the salary cap punishment. Look, the Storm won the 2007 and 2009 grand finals - but they didn't win the premierships because they cheated. No one won those premierships. I am not sure how happy Manly and Parramatta would be assigned a premiership after losing a grand final. Certainly, no one from either club has said they want that outcome, to the best of my knowledge.

14 comments so far

  • Exciting stuff from Vanuatu. What's the population of Port Vila? The coach thing does seem that way. Imagine if Des had announced in the first week of the finals last year he'd gone to the dogs (literally). Roosters should have done Catalans a favour and announced Brian Smith's departure a couple of weeks later.

    Date and time
    September 27, 2012, 11:14AM
    • While this year may be a lite year for the international big guns i do like both wales and france getting another crack at England!!! Thats good!! Also noone talks about the "gotta live in Australia before 15 to play SOO" as who else it benefits... If the flood of Fijians that are begining to enter the NRL than Fiji might actually become competitive if they can get some more games... same with PNG if they can link some players with a queensland club... What i really wanted to say is... A while ago you floated the idea of international rugby league membership.. a hat and a ticket to an international to support the development of the international game... My question is.. with a huge international year coming up.. possibly the most internationals to be played ever... what do you think about an international rugby league magazine to raise some funds... I'd buy it!! and yes i know in other years not many else would buy it.. but a true rugby league fan in a world cup year.. it might actually make a profit!! anyway.. just a thought!!

      Stephen- Kiama
      Date and time
      September 27, 2012, 11:27AM
      • its called state of origin for a reason, not state you joined after you were 15, just to satisfy the forigners

        Date and time
        September 27, 2012, 12:08PM
    • Big sooks. Ooh says the players; I am tired of playing! Me? I get 5 weeks AL and the rest of the year I work my butt off at a dead end job coz I have to. For 3-10 years approx these guys get to play sport THAT THEY LOVE and call it a job. Eat a bowl of cement and harden the heck up!

      Walks of Wgtn NZ
      Wgtn NZ
      Date and time
      September 27, 2012, 12:10PM
      • Hi Steve

        Great column as always.

        What seems to be forgotten here, is that Tim Sheens vowed that he would step aside if the Tigers didn't make the semi-finals in 2012. While as a Tigers fan I appreciate the great service he has given the club, and the fact that he is entitled to hold firm and ask for a payout, if he were a man of his word he would have stepped down with dignity shortly after the Tigers had missed the cut. The effect this extra few weeks of dragging on, in addition to Sheens shedding players to try and save his own skin, have been extremely detrimental to the Tigers.

        A few weeks ago I would have given Sheens the benefit of the doubt, particularly with injuries to key players occuring all season, but the lack of effort against the Roosters shows he has lost the ability to motivate players for important matches. With club favourities like Heighington and Ryan going, the situation has worsened now to the point where it has become untenable and it is time for him to move on.

        Personally I think he would be a good fit at the Warriors, who play a similar style of football to the Tigers, but he would need a strong defensive coach as this has proven to be a problem area for Sheens coached teams over the years. As for the Tigers, there's talk about getting a young coach, but I disagree. We need an experienced hard head who will put a bit of starch back into the side, rather than trying to cultivate a 'brotherly bond'. For a group of players that finished 10th, they've had way too much to say this week for my liking.



        Andrew B
        Date and time
        September 27, 2012, 12:25PM
        • Thailand, Greece, Vanuatu - what's the point? Does anyone seriously expect these nations to provide more than novelty value in Rugby League at any stage?
          I have a theory about the Wests Tigers - the media reporting about the departure of players and probably the coach miss the underlying story - each partner in the joint venture club is doing it tough financially. Especially Balmain - the wrangling over the redevelopment of the licensed club is hurting them and the football club is in debt. The Wests club cannot afford to field a team in all available competitions. The joint venture club will have no trouble staying under the salary cap because it doesn't have the cash to exceed it. They'd better hope the juniors playing in the u20s GF this weekend step up in 2013 because the senior player roster is falling apart. Recruiting or retaining old crocks like Anasta, Kite and Tuquiri is not the answer.

          Date and time
          September 27, 2012, 12:32PM
          • The point is that it has to start somewhere and the more nations getting involved in League the better!! NO these nations won't become superpowers but we don't need them too!! We just need to have lots of countries playing the sport, developing players and domestic competitions and in time to be able to have 40 or 50 international rugby league teams who actually play games!! Whats crazy is that 10 years ago that sounded dumb.. but this year i can count at least 20, probably closer to 30 international teams having played or going to play an international!! Still alot of work to go but in time international rugby league could be something worth selling and that the masses actually follow (not just a few nuts like myself)

            Stephen- Kiama
            Date and time
            September 27, 2012, 8:02PM
        • Is Sheens really entitled to ask for a full payout. He can hardly justify it based on his and the Tigers peformance this year. One doesn't mind guys asking for a full payout when they are unjustly dismissed but geez when you consider the roster the Tigers had this year and to finish behind teams like Cronulla and Canberra and his dodgy recruitment and retention decisions. Shouldn't he go quietly and try and keep his reputation in tact.

          Date and time
          September 27, 2012, 12:35PM
          • Whether Sheens is justified or not is based on the contract - does it contain kpi's or performance clauses? If not, then yes he is justified. Not everything is straight forward. Sometimes you get a result over a short period that in isolation looks bad - and the Tiges did look bad post origin - but they may come out and blitz the comp next year because of groundwork done this year. I doubt it, but look at Bulldogs in 2nd half of '08 compared to '09.
            If his contract doesn't contain performance clauses, then yes he should get a full payout, just like the rest of us who are employedwould expect. He should not be short-changed simply because he earns a lot more than most.

            Date and time
            September 27, 2012, 1:16PM
        • It's the end of an era with Timmy Sheens leaving the tigers but 10 years was a long time. Hopefully he can stay on and help out Todd Payten (I think Todd would be a great replacement). Please don't let Nathan Brown near our club.

          As for international league, whatever happened to the Ruski's? There was even the dude who was playing for Balmain - Ryde. Where did that all get to?

          Surely the ARLC needs to be putting some coin / thought into international rugby league. Some kind of apprentice / long service scheme with English Clubs. it would be great if they swapped a few juniors to play under 20's and perhaps a first grade player swap each year.

          Gavin Large
          Hurley Park
          Date and time
          September 27, 2012, 1:49PM

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