By STEVE MASCORD
It was intended as a humorous comment but Tim Sheens last night gave his first indication of what his answer will be to Wests Tigers’ offer of alternative employment.
Asked about Cameron Smith’s role in the 18-10 Test win over New Zealand at Dairy Farmers Stadium, the man recently sacked as the joint venture’s head coach said: “If I had a club, he’d be welcome to come play there.”
Sheens had just seen the green and golds score their second successive eight-point win over New Zealand, Darius Boyd’s late try securing the result before 26,479 fans. When he returns to Sydney today, Sheens will begin preparing a response to Wests Tigers’ offer of a job after they sacked him as coach.
His comment does not suggest he’ll be staying on.
Whatever happens at club level, Sheens is expected to keep the national post for the World Cup. Once again, his use of the bench prompted debate – as it did with Daly Cherry-Evans; selection in April.
Sheens said injury and tactics were the twin reasons behind Nate Myles demotion from the starting side, in favour of Tony Williams.
“I wanted a bit more thrust with Tony our there early and Nate has a bit of a sternum injury which he’s carried at the back end of the season and had a bit of issue with at the back end of the week,” he said.
“I decided to make a change to ease (Myles) into game later. I wanted to get him on earlier but it didn’t happen for whatever reason.
“He did a good job when he came out at the the back end.”
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said: “I anticipated that they would try and work over Benji (marshall) early and that’s what they did. I don’t think it worried us.”his side had come a long way from last year’s flogging in the corresponding game 12 months ago. He said the side was well-positioned for next year’s World Cup in Britain and Ireland.
“With the lads’ effort, I probably couldn’t have asked a great deal more,” said Kearney.
“There was just a 20-,minute period there we didn’t execute quite the way we wanted to, we didn’t get a good finish to our sets.
“The same Test last year was 42-6. From our point of view, it’s always about wanting to improve where we’ve come from.
“The guys who made their debuts tonight – gee, I thought they looked pretty comfortable out there. Kevin Proctor, big Sam (Kasiano) and young Dean Whare…”
Kearney was happy with the role of Ben Cummins under international rules, where there is one whistler rather than two. “I think we should keep a southern hemisphere ref for these games and the Anzac Test.
Cameron Smith became only the third captain to lift club, state and international trophies in the same season.
“I’m just about to ring Craig Bellamy and ask for an extra month off,” hooker Smith said.
Filed for: SUN-HERALD