Sheens re-signs with Wests Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens re-signs with Wests Tigers

By Ed Logue 19/12/2007 07:48:57 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens says his young squad will be pushing for NRL honours in the next five years after he signed a two-year contract extension to the end of the 2010 season.

Sheens, 57, the longest serving NRL coach with a record 544 games, said he still retains his enthusiasm for the job.

The four-time premiership coach, three with Canberra and one with the Tigers in 2005, is excited about the blend of youth and young senior players in the club.

"We've got a great group of kids, I know what we've got coming through," Sheens told media at Rozelle in Sydney's inner-west.

"Most people don't.

"We won't be rated as favourites next year, we weren't in `05 either but we'll come out and everyone will have to be prepared to play us."

After the horror injury run the club has experienced since its 2005 success, Sheens is hoping higher beings will look favourably upon the Tigers in 2008 and beyond.

"Given the injury gods look after us reasonably, we'll give as much cheek as anyone," he said.

"Our average age is 22 in the club, our senior players are 23 years of age.

"At that age, 23, (with) 70-100 first grade games, that is when you play your best footy.

"This club has a great future for the next five years and, if we hold and mould that team together, that team will be a solid team for the next half a decade."

A keen historian of the game, Sheens said moving the NRL grand final to 5pm in the afternoon did not bother him, and he and the Tigers would be happy to play one anytime.

"You could play it at 12 o'clock at night, I'll be there," he said.

"I don't think the players mind that much, I think it was a press driven thing more than anything."

One of Sheens' proteges, Melbourne Storm premiership winning mentor Craig Bellamy, is also ambivalent about the grand final move.

"I'm a bit with Tim, I just want to be there," Bellamy said.

"I don't care what time they play it basically."

Bellamy said being a player and under-21s coach under Sheens at Canberra had taught him about the preparation his mentor did.

"How thorough they were and ... how much work he had done," Bellamy said.

The level of press scrutiny has increased since Sheens first started coaching Penrith in 1984 but the expectation for clubs to perform has not changed, he said.

"Just even the coverage and the media of the game, on the players, everything they do on the football field," Sheens said.

"(Australian coach) Ricky Stuart said to me the other day that, if the NRL stats were around when he was playing, I would not have ever picked him.

"And that's probably right."

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