NRL: Sheens survives at Tigers for now

Tim Sheens. Photo / Getty Images
Tim Sheens. Photo / Getty Images

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens survived the NRL club's Thursday night board meeting, but his job will be part of a club review over the coming weeks.

Speculation mounted on Thursday that Sheens' 10-year career at the Tigers was to come to an immediate end at the meeting, following a disappointing 2012 season and in the wake of rumours of a player revolt against him.

Manly assistant Matt Parish was already being linked as Sheens' likely successor, with Nathan Brown and Jason Taylor also said to be in the running.

However, chief executive Stephen Humphreys said in a statement on Thursday night that Sheens was safe for now until a thorough review was completed.

"We will complete our review process in a prompt but orderly fashion," Humphreys said in a statement.

"It would be inappropriate for us to make further comment."

Sacking Sheens midway through his deal would be financially very costly for the Tigers, but it would appear the veteran coach, who won a premiership with the joint-venture side in 2005, is now under immense pressure to keep his job.

Reports of player dissatisfaction with Sheens came after popular long-serving stars Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington were this week allowed to leave and join rival club Cronulla for the 2013 season.

Tigers superstar Benji Marshall slammed the club for their treatment of Ryan and Heighington when speaking on Channel Nine's The Footy Show on Thursday night, but it was unclear whether he was directly criticising his coach.

Marshall, who has always enjoyed a close relationship with the four-time premiership winner said that Sheens shouldn't be shown the door unless there was a better candidate available.

"I've got the upmost respect for Tim as a coach and a friend ... we don't always agree eye to eye on a lot of things and we've had our moments but his coaching ability no doubt is up there with the best in the world and you don't replace a coach unless there's someone better," said Marshall.

"If they find someone better then maybe it might be time for a change, but is there someone better?

"Where do I start? I think as a player we're just as confused as the fans and the sponsors are.

"They're (Ryan and Heighington) not just any players, one's played over 200 games for the Tigers and holds the record for most games at the club in Chris Heighington and the other guy (Ryan), what he brings on the field and his marketability for the club, I just don't understand it."

Marshall said he broke down in tears when told that good friends Heighington and Ryan were being forced out of the club.

"They had deals on the table that to my knowledge were done and at the end of the day it got turned around on them and they're going to end up at the Sharks and as a mate it's pretty hard to swallow and more importantly from a club perspective, no one wanted to see them go and it's pretty heartbreaking to tell you the truth," Marshall said.

"It's not always about winning and losing, and for me our culture was always about the people we had in the club and they're two of the greatest and two of my best mates. The fashion they've left doesn't suit the club we are and that's the most disappointing thing for me in my heart anyway."

- AAP

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