Sheens favourite for Kangaroos coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens favourite for Kangaroos coach

By Todd Balym 23/02/2009 07:28:44 PM Comments (0)

More than two decades after making his coaching debut, Wests Tigers mentor Tim Sheens is set to beat the new-school brigade for the coveted Australian Test job on Tuesday.

Sheens is favoured to be named Kangaroos coach when the Australian Rugby League (ARL) board meet in Sydney on Tuesday to decide upon a replacement for Ricky Stuart who quit after a controversial World Cup loss.

Manly's NRL premiership winner Des Hasler is the main candidate standing in Sheens' path with the Sea Eagles boss gaining support from influential selector Bob Fulton.

Other leading candidates include Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga and Gold Coast's John Cartwright, the current Kangaroos assistant.

While Queensland Rugby League officials will push Meninga's case, the most capped Kangaroo in history is unlikely to get the nod as rules state that the Test coach cannot be affiliated with either state side.

The smokey in the field could be new St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett, the man Stuart replaced after the disastrous 2005 Tri Nations loss.

Bennett stepped down from his assistant coaching role with New Zealand last Saturday, after helping the Kiwis stun Australia in the World Cup final, prompting speculation he could be handed another crack at the Kangaroos job.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said any coach could be discussed at the meeting, however reiterated that Meninga and NSW coach Craig Bellamy were ineligible unless policy was changed at the meeting.

"If (Origin coaching policy) is discussed and doesn't change it makes Mal ineligible unless he withdrew as Queensland coach," said Carr.

"He can't coach both at the same time."

Managing director Ross Livermore confirmed the QRL would seek a policy change at the meeting, believing Meninga to be the best man for the job.

If, as expected, the policy does not change, Livermore said the four Queensland board members had not discussed other potential candidates and would vote individually.

"We have not had any discussion on the likely candidates if the policy does not get changed," said Livermore.

"We have not got views on any one of the particular candidates ... it will be an individual consideration. There will be no bloc voting from Queensland or NSW."

Despite the Wests Tigers not reaching the NRL finals for three seasons, Sheens is certainly the most credentialled candidate in the running.

He made his coaching debut with Penrith in 1984, before Cartwright and Meninga played in the national competition and while Hasler's career had only just begun.

Sheens is the most capped coach in the NRL and stands fourth on the list of all-time premiership wins with four, two behind Bennett.

He is the current NSW City coach and was last year overlooked for the NSW Blues role handed to Bellamy.

In a twist, Sheens could be promoted to the Test job four years after leading the Tigers to premiership success just like Stuart.

Stuart was appointed Test coach in 2006 - four years after the Sydney Roosters 2002 premiership win.

Sheens won the premiership with the Tigers in 2005.

While his Tigers contract expires next year, and the club is yet to discuss an extension, chief executive Scott Longmuir had no doubt Sheens was the man for the Australian job.

"He would be very deserving of it," said Longmuir.

"He has had vast experiences as a coach, tremendous success and is a great statesman for the game.

"I think he has got a great temperament from the point of view he'd be able to handle all the parts of the job, like media and promotional side of things.

"He'd be ideal for it."

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