Dubble Click
News Blog

The Wests Tigers coaching succession plan proves they’re stuck in the past

The Wests Tigers have become something of an NRL joke over the last 22 years.

Aside from the most unexpected and thrilling of premierships in 2005, there has been little else of note for fans of the joint venture to celebrate.

Across those 22 seasons since the infamous merger, the Tigers have an average end-of-season NRL ladder position of 10.2, and have won just 224 of 538 matches… while employing nine coaches along the way.

Now, the Tigers have put the most successful of those nine, 2005 flag-winning coach Tim Sheens, in charge again for the next two years.

In an extraordinary sequence of plans, Sheens is shifting from his current role at the Tigers back into the senior coaching position, with club great Benji Marshall set to serve an apprenticeship under him for the next two seasons before taking the reins in 2025.

Tigers stalwart Robbie Farah is the third prong in the plan, with an assistant role alongside and then under Marshall once the baton is passed.

Goodness me, talk about back to the future.

Under their temporary mentor Brett Kimmorley, the Tigers have continued to lose as they did under Michael Maguire – they sit last on the NRL ladder and have just three wins to crow about in season 2022.

The broader rugby league community is far from shocked at their current plight, either. It is completely consistent with the pattern built across the club’s history, in which finals play has been achieved on just three occasions.

The need for a circuit breaker is obvious to everyone else watching on; yet seemingly is still a foreign concept to those calling the shots at Tiger town.

Sheens is a four-time premiership-winning coach whose credentials are beyond question when it comes to success on a rugby league field.

Reaching the pinnacle of the NRL at two clubs – three times at Canberra and once at the Tigers – saw his skills called upon at provincial, state and national level, where his reputation as an excellent man manager was enhanced further.

Kiwi international Marshall played a key role through the Sheens years, both as a will-o-the-wisp player and as a leader who fought desperately to mould the Tigers into a premiership force.

Sadly, that intent never came to fruition, with personal injury concerns and a lack of depth in the squad hampering the Tigers’ chances of raising the trophy for a second time.

Benji Marshall of the Tigers

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Sheens has been a great coach in the past. Marshall may well be one in the future. And Farah does bleed black and gold.

Yet there appears to be something all too familiar and predictable about any Sheens/Marshall/Farah plans for the future success of the Tigers.

Something tells me the board have difficulties in looking beyond the confines of their own club, with season after season of disappointment passing and zero improvement occurring under very familiar faces.

Perhaps it is time for the Tigers to admit that long-term solutions are not to be found by simply recycling the same old names through the club, especially considering the appalling record it has compiled doing the very same thing.

Marshall is completely untested and unproven as a coach. Farah will no doubt be in the background and true to form, not thinking of anyone other than himself.

As for Sheens, the veteran coach will be somehow expected to produce improvement AND mentor both over the next two seasons.

If the plan works, kudos to them; yet something tells me that few will be convinced by what seems yet another attempt to give fans false hope based on nothing but the leverage that comes with the names attached to the latest unsuccessful plan in what has become a long line of them.

The club needed something different many years ago, and it may well be proven foolish by re-inventing the past once again.

Source link

Comments are closed.