Sheens set to be handed keys to the car as Tigers finalise review

Tim Sheens is set to be handed the keys to the castle, regardless of whether the Wests Tigers decide to sack Michael Maguire in the coming days.

The club on Monday finalised its end-of-season review, with the board to be presented a copy of the report before a decision is made on Maguire’s future.

Sources with knowledge of the situation told the Herald that Sheens, the joint venture’s only premiership-winning coach of the past 22 seasons, is expected to be promoted into a coaching director role regardless of whether Maguire stays on or is axed.

The club believes Sheens’ experience will be invaluable to the club’s football department, with his role to be increased significantly in the coming weeks to oversee the coaching ranks.

Maguire was unaware of Sheens’ appointment before the board signed off on it earlier in the year.

The Tigers are yet to decide whether Maguire is part of their plans, but Sheens is viewed as the ideal foil for a rookie coach.

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There is a widely held view within the game that Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo is the perfect fit for the Tigers if they were to move in a different direction, but his management has told the Herald Ciraldo won’t entertain other opportunities until Penrith’s season comes to an end.

Tim Sheens is returning to Tiger town.Credit:NRL Photos

That could be this weekend if they lose their semi-final against Parramatta in the western Sydney showdown in Mackay on Saturday night.

However, Ciraldo may not be in a position to discuss his future until after the October 3 grand final if Penrith knock off the Eels this weekend and the Storm in the preliminary final the following Saturday.

The Tigers – who are due to start pre-season in seven weeks – may not be able to wait that long, which will create a conundrum for the club’s directors as they look to finalise plans for the 2022 season.

Tariq Sims, Adam Elliott and Aaron Woods have all been linked to the club, however the Tigers have put a hold on recruitment and retention decisions until a position is finalised on the coach for next year.

The review was conducted by the club's football committee, which includes chairman Lee Hagipantelis, chief executive Justin Pascoe, general manager Adam Hartigan, board member Danny Stapleton and Sheens.

In a recent interview with the Herald, Hagipantelis didn’t hide his displeasure with the club’s results under Maguire in 2021.

“There will be a specific focus on the football department with an emphasis on this year’s results,” chairman Lee Hagipantelis said of the club’s review, which has now been finalised.

“The results do not reflect the financial commitment and investment that this club has made to the football department, nor the potential of what we believe to be a very exciting young roster. Difficult questions need to be asked, but more importantly they must be answered.”

The Herald last week reported damning revelations that surfaced from the Wests Tigers’ end-of-season review, casting serious doubt over the coach’s defensive strategies at the club.

The Herald learned that a common theme that emerged from interviews with players and staff was a belief from some that Maguire has been unable to communicate a definitive defensive system to improve the team.

It’s hoped the appointment of Sheens to a coaching director role will help ease some of those concerns.

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