Sheens future safe at Wests Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens future safe at Wests Tigers

By Todd Balym 10/12/2009 06:30:54 PM Comments (0)

Tim Sheens' future at the Wests Tigers appears safe with the Australian Test coach already opening discussions to extend his tenure despite being starved of recent NRL success.

Sheens enters the final year of his contract with the Tigers in 2010 and, while there had been speculation he could be a scapegoat for the club's fourth successive failure to reach the finals, only a catastrophic start to next season can prevent the veteran coach getting a new deal.

"Tim and I have had some conversations about that and we're both comfortable with where that is," said Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys of the coach's future.

"There is a lot of confidence here about next year and that builds into the next few years and I expect Tim to be part of that."

Sheens isn't just looking at ending the club's finals drought next year, he is confident they can add to their premiership triumph of 2005.

He rates the 2010 squad the strongest he's coached since joining the Tigers in 2003, particularly once they add former Wallaby Lote Tuqiri midway through next season.

Tuqiri, sacked by the ARU this year, is currently playing English rugby union but could sign a contract within weeks to return to the NRL with the Tigers.

He would not be able to start playing until mid-season, but would join an impressive list of new recruits including Jason Cayless, Junior Moors, Arana Taumata and the returning Liam Fulton.

"If we put Lote in that, hopefully that would make it as strong a roster as I think we've had," said Sheens.

"I think starting the season we are all very confident, the way we finished last year, that we can turn this into a very positive season for us.

"We are very excited about the roster and the kids coming through.

"I want to make the playoffs with a chance to win the premiership.

"There's no use making the playoffs and saying, 'Well that's fine we made the playoffs'. You've got to go in there with a chance to win it."

English import Gareth Ellis is determined to make his second NRL season better than his rookie year, starting by scoring his first try in Australia.

Ellis starred in 2009 and was named the world's best second-rower after helping England to the Four Nations final.

His explosive NRL performances were a major talking point among England's best players and Ellis believes, if more follow him to the NRL, it will help bridge the gap at an international level to the Kangaroos.

"I think it probably has made people think about coming over to the NRL and I know there'd be a few coaches out there that wouldn't mind to pick a few players out of the England team and have them on their playing roster," said Ellis.

"It would be nice to see a few more English players play in the NRL and getting the respect they deserve.

"It would be great for English international rugby (league), I just don't know how it would go for Super League."

Meanwhile, the Tigers announced a new initiative for 2010, with Proton Cars and MKB Contracting to be joint major sponsors and share jersey exposure in a deal worth "well in excess of $1 million" to the club.

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