There are conflicting stories in this morning’s media regarding the future of Tim Sheens, with some papers claiming he has already quit.
Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has reportedly quit as coach as the NRL club after ten years following days of player unrest.
News Limited reports Sheens told the players and club of his decision Monday afternoon and a scheduled board meeting at the club, to discuss his future, failed to take place on Monday night.
There was a backlash from players upset at the cleanout being undertaken by the club.
It is believed the Tigers are working on a financial settlement with the four-time premiership-winning mentor, who has two years remaining on his contract believed to be worth $450,000 a season.
The cash-strapped joint venture would struggle to pay out the deal in full as well as find the funds to hire a replacement coach.
There was speculation Sheens might be hired by the New Zealand Warriors and that would lessen the payout from Tigers.
Manly assistant coach Matt Parish, who had a brief yet unsuccessful head coaching stint with English Super League club Salford last year, is the favourite to replace Sheens.
News Limited are running with:WESTS Tigers chief executive Steve Humphreys is set to table his review into Tim Sheens at a board meeting this afternoon amid speculation the four-time premiership winning coach has begun saying his goodbyes to players and staff.
Sheens was expected to be given his marching orders at an extraordinary board meeting last night but the meeting was postponed at the last minute and will now take place today.
It emerged that the meeting had been postponed because Humphreys had not finalised his review into Sheens’s performance and the club’s disastrous season.
The Tigers had been favoured to win the premiership at the start of the season after making it to the preliminary finals last year but they underachieved this year and finished in 10th place.
Sources said Sheens still had some supporters on the board who were keen to keep him involved in some capacity, possibly as a coaching director. That would negate the Tigers having to pay out his $450,000 a year deal, which expires at the end of 2014.
But it appears unlikely he will remain, with reports that Sheens had told some of his staff, including football manager Bryan Hider, that there would be no job for them next year.
He is also believed to have telephone some players to tell them he was leaving.
It was suggested yesterday that part of the delay in getting rid of Sheens had to do with the New Zealand Warriors, who are on the hunt for a new coach after letting Brian McClennan go just before the end of the regular season.
Warriors officials were said to be in Australia over the past few days to interview candidates and there was speculation last night Sheens had asked for a 24-hour extension to negotiate a deal.
Clouding the issue is the fact that Sheens is the Australian Test coach and it could be hard for him to continue in that role if he lived in Auckland.
The issue at the Tigers exploded last week after the club let favourite sons Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan leave to sign deals with the Cronulla Sharks from next season.
Their exit came on top of the club’s decision last year to release Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita in a bid to open the salary cap to sign Melbourne backrower Adam Blair. Blair has failed to achieve his potential this year.
The exit of key personnel involved in the 2005 premiership win is said to have alienated Sheens from the rest of the team, including two of his most powerful allies in captain Robbie Farah and five-eighth Benji Marshall.
Farah is off contract at the end of next year and has been linked to Parramatta. Former NSW coach Ricky Stuart will take over the Eels next year. The Tigers have been linked with no shortage of replacements, including Melbourne assistant Kevin Walters, Manly assistant Matt Parish, and Tigers defensive coach Steve Georgallis.
Sheens’s former assistant Royce Simmons is said to be in talks with the club about returning after a stint with St Helens but is not in line for the top job.
While the Daily Telegraph goes all-out:
TIM Sheens has quit as Wests Tigers coach following a revolt from his players.
He reached a settlement with the club yesterday to walk away after 10 years at the helm.
Sheens told Tigers players and officials yesterday afternoon he was no longer going to be involved at the club, and speculation immediately turned to him possibly switching to the New Zealand Warriors.
It is understood Sheens reached a compromise payout agreement regarding the final two years of his contract.
A Tigers board meeting last night to decide Sheens’ future was cancelled and the club is believed to be holding off on a formal announcement to allow Sheens to sort out a deal with the Warriors.
Under the terms of Sheens’ contract, he was to be paid the full amount of his $450,000-a-year deal if he was sacked. But the club baulked at a parting payment of $900,000.
While Sheens told several players and officials of the news yesterday, it’s understood that he chose not to tell club captain Robbie Farah and star Benji Marshall.
Sheens is also thought to have told his longtime colleague Brian Hyder that the football manager too won’t be at the Tigers next season.
In recent days the pressure to oust Sheens became apparent as leading players openly expressed displeasure over the departures of club favourites Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington to the Sharks.
Sheens and the Tigers came to an agreement over the payout terms, while a new deal with New Zealand would likely cover the shortfall if it eventuated.
Sheens is keen to retain the Kangaroos job, presenting the curious situation where he could have to coach against a Kiwi side packed with his Warriors players should he take the Auckland job.