More Wolves Cup Woe
On this day ….. 31 May
One year ago today, on 31 May 2019, a 22-28 Challenge Cup home quarter-final defeat to Warrington Wolves was the final game of the Tim Sheens era at Craven Park. Sheens was brought in by the Robins to revive the club’s fortunes after the disastrous 2016 season, that culminated in the agonising golden-point defeat to Salford in the ‘Million Pound game.’
Born into a rugby league family in the Penrith area, Tim Sheens had a lengthy playing career with Penrith Panthers, for whom he played 166 first grade games between 1970 to 1982, gravitating from the back row to prop forward over the course of his playing career.
After starting his coaching career with Penrith, Sheens moved to Canberra, where he coached the Raiders to three premierships in 1989, 1990 and 1994. A less successful period with North Queensland followed, but in 2003, he took over the reins at Wests Tigers. He coached the Tigers to 2005 Grand Final success, with a side that contained future Rovers players Ben Galea and Mark O’Neill in the second row, and Dan Fitzhenry, who made a try-scoring appearance at right-wing. Sheens’ spent ten years at Wests, the role overlapping with his six-year period in charge of the Australian national side from 2009.
After stepping down as national coach, Sheens took up a role as director of rugby at Salford Red Devils in 2015, resigning to take the Rovers job at the end of the 2016 season. Since leaving Rovers, Sheens has remained in coaching with Widnes Vikings.
In 2010, Sheens became the first coach in Australian rugby league history to reach 600 games. In addition to his four ARL premiership wins, he won the Dally M Coach of the Year award in 1984, 1990 and 2005. A real rugby league enthusiast, Sheens’ knowledge of the game is second to none, and he has wide-ranging views on the game that he is invariably happy to share and just ‘talk rugby league.’
Sheens was the most experienced and successful coach ever to have been appointed to the role by the Robins. He achieved his two main objectives at Craven Park, in gaining immediate promotion back to Super League in 2017, and retaining Super League status in 2018. But after winning only seven of 19 matches in 2019, he was sacked by Rovers in June. Overall, Sheens’ record in his two and a half seasons at Rovers was 84 games, 47 wins, two draws and 35 defeats.
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