The Wests Tigers have revealed their game plan to get back into the top eight and eventually win another premiership and it involves Tim Sheens taking over as coach from the start of the 2023 NRL campaign.
The Tigers have not played finals since 2011 and their one and only premiership success came way back in 2005.
That is simply not good enough for the Tigers faithful, who are demanding much more after being starved of success for so long.
The powers that be had kept the faith in former coach Michael Maguire up until midway through this season. Maguire had been in charge since 2019 and the aim was to get back into finals.
After finishing ninth in his first season the Tigers then went on to finish 11th and 13th in the next two seasons and following a poor start in 2022 Maguire lost his job.
Brett Kimmorley was handed the job on an interim basis until the end of the season but big plans have been announced from the start of 2023.
Could this be the start of a new exciting era for the Tigers? Can they go on and make finals and win a premiership in the next five years? Let’s take a closer look at the Tigers’ master plan.
The Tigers board and chairman Leo Hagipantelis initially wanted Cameron Ciraldo to replace Maguire and they offered the current Penrith Panthers assistant a bumper five-year deal in the hope he would accept.
However the Tigers were hit with a hammer blow when Ciraldo rejected the opportunity and opted to stay with the Panthers for now.
Ciraldo was seen as the man to develop a talented crop of youngsters who are set to break through in the next couple of seasons, and when he rejected the job, the Tigers had to think quickly.
There were other options out there but the Tigers have turned to the old guard to get the club back on track. But there is a twist and many believe it could be a masterstroke.
Sheens will be coach for two years from 2023, but he will work alongside club legend Benji Marshall who will take over from the start of 2025, with a view to being in charge for at least three years.
Fellow club great Robbie Farrah will also be part of the new-look coaching set-up, while Kimmorley is also expected to stay involved.
Sheens coached the Tigers from 2003 to 2012 and helped to develop some of the club’s top talent including Marshall, so the duo already have a great bond.
They won the premiership in the 2005 season when rising from the lower reaches of the ladder to win the grand final. Now they hope to combine again all these years later to bring more success to the club.
Sheens has all the experience and know-how to get the ball rolling over the next couple of years and to help prepare Marshall for what lies ahead.
Sheens is in no doubt that Marshall has all the attributes to be a great coach. It is believed that Sheens initially had no interest in taking the job. He was happy to stick with his role of being footy boss.
However as soon as he spoke to Marshall and Farrah and saw their drive and ambition he was sold on the idea and wanted in. That says it all and is why the Tigers fans have real hope for the future.
They have a plan in place and Sheens is confident they can reap the rewards.
Although there are talented youngsters coming through the ranks, recruitment will also be key and that is the reason Sheens is not taking over the reins immediately.
He will leave the coaching to Kimmorley while he focuses on strengthening the roster for 2023.
Marshall will help. The former playmaker is a NRL legend and there is a good chance a heap of players will want to work with him and be a part of the future.
“That’s the secret of it. I want to do that in the background,” Sheens told reporters. “The system that we’re using at the moment has been working okay. I know we’re not doing so well on the ladder, but at the end of day, I need to get Benji and Rob and also finalise the staffing for 1st November.
“We’ve got two or three months to prepare the two boys, so it makes it a lot easier to get started that way.”
It is a bold move by the Wests Tigers, but considering nothing else has worked over the last 11 years, it is certainly worth a try.
Having Marshall and Farrah involved will have the fans aboard from the off, which is crucial, now only time will tell if they can deliver.