Former Hull KR boss given early sacking in NRL

Tim Sheens is one of the sport’s more decorated and experienced head coaches with his resume including a Word Cup win as Australia boss, Grand Final winner with Wests Tigers and also a stint in Super League where he headed up Hull KR.

Sheens was in charge at Craven Park from 2017 to 2019 before an even briefer stint at Widnes Vikings was followed by a return down under.

One of the most notable periods of Sheens’ career was his spell at Wests Tigers, whom he led for just under a decade, and helped guide to an NRL Grand Final victory in 2005.

He returned to Wests in 2021 in a role that saw him work on the club’s pathways and development however the club quickly moved him into the head coaching role, having him oversee what was seen as a transitional period.

Former club legend Benji Marshall would learn under Sheens for the 2023 and 2024 season before then taking the reins, something that many NRL pundits had titled as ‘The Marshall Plan’, in reference to the USA’s anti-communism project post World War Two.

During the first season of this system Wests have struggled miserably and find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with the club currently on a ten game losing streak.

That’s forced the higher ups into action and it’s now been confirmed that Sheens will leave the club at the end of 2023, not 2024 as planned, with Marshall set to take charge a year earlier than initially anticipated or planned.

That’s been reported  from the club themselves and multiple Australian media who confirm that the process is set to be ‘fast tracked’.

On the club’s official site, it was confirmed as follows:

“Wests Tigers and Tim Sheens have mutually agreed to part ways with the four-time premiership winning coach finishing up at the end of this season.”

Sheens said: “I came back with a focus on creating stronger pathways and development programs.

“I am proud of the work accomplished by all involved in the pathways system and of the emerging local talent, in both the men’s and women’s competitions.”

“The club acknowledges the tremendous efforts and sacrifices Tim has made during his tenure and recognises that his contribution has put the club in a great position to continue developing players.”

Wests Tigers CEO, Justin Pascoe says Tim has made a significant contribution since returning to the club.

“Tim has given extraordinary assistance and support to creating a very strong pathways program, one that will deliver talent across both our men’s and women’s competitions for a long time to come,” said Pascoe.

“Our supporters should be excited by the future and by what Tim has been able to deliver in this space, and our club will continue to invest and apply resources to player development in our local regions.”

Sheens, who was overseeing the transition, added: “I am extremely proud of what I have been able to do in transitioning Benji into the main role and wish him and the club all the success in the future.”

Marshall, who played 346 NRL games, says he has benefitted greatly from assisting Sheens this season.

“I am humbled by Tim’s endorsement as the future and long-term head coach of Wests Tigers,” said Marshall.

“To be the head coach of Wests Tigers has been a long-held dream of mine since retiring from playing.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to take on the role and I am indebted to Tim for all that he has taught me, both as a player and as an assistant coach.

“I know that I am ready to take on the role with all the support that the club has offered.”