NRL 2023: Team Sheens faces crisis as Wests Tigers sink to new low

Serious questions have to be asked about Tim Shins and Wests Tigers after they were thrashed by the Broncos, but the coach insists he has plenty to offer.

Tim Sheens insists he will not quit the Wests Tigers after they were relegated to a new low with a 46-12 embarrassment to the Broncos in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Sheens’ fairytale return to the Tigers’ coaching box has turned into a nightmare, with Wests the only team in the NRL without a win after five rounds and facing back-to-back wooden spoons.

A 34-point capitulation to Brisbane could have been mistaken for an April Fool’s joke, such was the Tigers’ appalling ineptitude.

The Tigers were competitive in the opening four weeks of the season, but this eight try was a complete failure.

They haven’t played in the finals since 2011 and could start booking the September holidays now after conceding five first-half tries to trail 28-0 at half-time.

The Tigers take on last year’s beaten grand finalists Parramatta at Accor Stadium on Monday and need an Easter miracle to break this drought.

“I will never give up on this band, it has a lot to offer,” Shins said.

“I’m ready to cop as much as you’ll give me, but I’ll still show up. I have (received faith). They are a quality group of guys and they have talent.

“We have to carry this a lot and work a lot harder as a staff and as players. Many coaches have eight or nine losses in a row. These things can happen.

“The more you hit, the harder it is to get you out. We will find a way to do it.”


Sheens, 72, has enjoyed a coaching career winning four premierships, including the Tigers’ breakthrough NRL title in 2005.

But his return to the hot seat at Wests following the questionable sacking of Michael Maguire is quickly turning into a disaster.

Sheens only took over the role after the Tigers failed to sign Cameron Ciraldo, and he’s set to marry Benji Marshall for the next two seasons.

But serious questions have to be asked about whether this is the right path for the Tigers to take as Sheens’ legacy suffers.


Although they had lost their opening four matches in the competition, the Tigers’ worst defeat came by 12 points and two tries short.

This was a completely different performance. The tigers have never been on the hunt and seem to be getting worse.

“They were too good for us,” Shins said.

“The first half got away from us and then the game was really over. We came out in the second half and ran, played a little bit.

“We played five games. We have competed well in four. Tonight was the first one we never had a chance to win.

“We came out to win in the second half, that’s all you can do. The effort was there. We could have put the clue in the drawer, but we didn’t.

“We have some work to do, that much is clear.”


It took Broncos fullback Jordan Ricke just 10 minutes to score his first goal, with the Tigers trailing 28-0 in the 35th minute after conceding five tries.

The Broncos went up field with ease, registering 878m in the first half compared to Wests’ 498m.

The Tigers’ defense was easily broken almost every time the Broncos got within striking distance and when they had the ball they rarely threatened the Brisbane line.

“There’s just no resilience in the Tigers’ defense,” Fox League’s Cooper Cronk said.

Had it not been for a couple of soft tries to Isaiah Papalii and Jake Simpkin, the Tigers might not have got on the board.

Sheens and his Tigers are in big trouble.


By Peter Badel

Tim Sheens has hit back at claims Wests Tigers are a basket case by declaring “I’m not dead yet” ahead of his side’s clash with the Broncos.

Ahead of the Broncos game, Sheens, 72, dismissed claims the Wests Tigers are a riot, backing his five-year strategic plan with Benji Marshall-in-waiting.

“I’m not dead as a coach yet,” Sheens said as he prepared to face Walters, 11 years after he last coached the Tigers.

“There will be good times ahead for this club.

“A number of teams expect only one victory for us. Our five-year plan is a good plan, it’s two years for me and three years for Benji, and we recruit accordingly and prepare accordingly.

“Benji will have fresh air to run in two years.

“In our opening four games, we’ve won twice by 12 and twice by six or less. The competition is very close this year and I don’t believe we are playing that badly. Sure, it would be nice to get a win, but there are a lot of teams with one or two wins.

“It’s not one of those sets where people are separated. The Broncos are the only undefeated team. It is early days.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that I’ve started well and finished badly, and then I’ve done the exact opposite. I’m not worried about where we’re going to be or what we’re doing. We are worried about this week.

“As long as we’re competing and not getting behind by 40 every game, that’s what matters. You’ve got to put in the effort and the lads are putting in the effort so I’m sure we’ll do right.

“When the players show you that they are working hard for the team, for the club and for themselves, you will get results.

“We will know where this club is going in six months.

“It’s a great game to be involved in and if you’ve got one of the limited number of NRL jobs for a first grade coach, you’re very lucky. I don’t take it lightly.

“The critics were calling Kevin Walters the boss last year, so right now we’re coming to Brisbane to play the team in charge.

“You and social media comment on the club and everyone has their own claim to fame, but I don’t worry about all that.”

Originally published as NRL 2023: Team Shins face crisis as Wests Tigers sink to new low

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