Players Band Together To Keep Sheens In Charge For World Cup

By STEVE MASCORD

AUSTRALIA coach Tim Sheens is yet to formally reject a job at Wests Tigers next year – but his players in the national team have spoken about helping him avoid the rare distinction of being sacked twice on one off-season.
After being shown the door as head coach of the joint venture for next season, Sheens has been offered an undefined alternative position which would help the club avoid a payout estimated by some as up to $1 million. Last night, Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys told the Herald there had been no response from Sheens “at this stage.
“Tim is obviously focused on the Kangaroos this week,” Humphreys said by text.
Sheens’ appointment with the national side is on a year-to-year basis. Australia prop David Shillington said the coach had spoken during a team-meeting about everyone involved in the squad helping their 2013 World Cup chances with a strong performance against New Zealand at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday.
“Tim mentioned it yesterday, saying we want to use this as a lead-in to the World Cup,” Canberra’s Shillington said after a weights session at Townsville Sports Reserve. “Hopefully we can win, have a bit of success now and in the Anzac Test next year and he keeps the same squad, we can keep him as coach.
“And then leading into the World Cup, we don’t make too many changes, there’s plenty of fluency in the team and we all play off the bat straight away.”
Shillington said it would be to Australia’s advantage if Sheens was retained.
“Yesterday, because it’s a similar team, I don’t think we dropped a ball the whole session and all the plays we did were perfect,” he said. “We didn’t need to sit down or learn anything. It’s a huge advantage if we can do that.
“We’ve lost a Four Nations and a World Cup in the last four or five years so we want to win them back.
“We’ve had (Sheens) for the last four years, the whole four years that I’ve played. It would be nice to keep him as coach. We’ve had good success with him but there’s still room for improvement.”
The green and golds have dismissed any doubt over the fitness of fullback Billy Slater. The Kiwis have arrived in Cairns, where they will prepare until tomorrow, with Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett and Greg Eastwood made available to the media yesterday. Eastwood refused to talk about the Bulldogs’ Mad Monday controversy.

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