Tim Sheens dilemma and Cronulla's worrying reality: Good, bad and ugly of NRL round 20

Two coaches in particular will be doing plenty of soul-searching after the latest round in the NRL.

Pictured left to right, Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens and Cronulla's Matt Moylan.
Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens and Cronulla's Matt Moylan had a round 20 to forget in the NRL. Pic: Getty

😃 The good: Parramatta's resurgence continues

😔 The bad: Tim Sheens' Tigers conundrum deepens

😡 The ugly: Craig Fitzgibbon's brutal reality at Sharks

Eels' finals charge gathers steam

It wasn't overly pretty, and they left it very late, but Parramatta still got the job done when it mattered most against the Titans. The one-point victory makes it six wins from their last seven – their only loss in that stretch being against the Warriors when the Eels were minus their Origin troops.

From struggling to break clear of the competition basement, last year's grand finalists are suddenly in seventh spot with a bye to come. It’s been a great recovery from where they were two months ago.

At that stage they looked like missing the finals for certain despite boasting a high pedigree roster. Then Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson caught fire and the rest followed.

It's hard to see Parramatta missing the eight although the next month will tell us a lot more about the blue and golds. They play the Cowboys, Storm and Broncos all away from home.

Their only home game is against wooden spoon contenders, the Dragons. If Brad Arthur's men come away with two or more wins on the road over the next four weeks, don’t rule them out of a top four finish and a real dash at this year's grand final.

Tim Sheens left in the dark at Tigers

My wife – of all people - can probably best sympathise with the position Tim Sheens seemingly finds himself in. She regularly accuses me of failing to pass on information when it first comes to hand and only finding things out at the last minute.

Sheens seems to be in a similar position at the Wests Tigers, only hearing of vital information at the 11th hour or after the event. Last month he was caught unawares when chairman Lee Hagipantelis and Justin Pascoe worked behind the scenes to bring recruitment manager Scott Futon from Manly to Tigertown.

Sheens, as head coach, found out about it around the same time as the rest of us. No opinion sort, no consultation, no heads up.

Coach Tim Sheens has been left out of the loop in a couple of major discussions at the Wests Tigers. Pic: Getty
Coach Tim Sheens has been left out of the loop in a couple of major discussions at the Wests Tigers. Pic: Getty

It was staggering to think the boss of the football side was not told the person largely responsible for shaping his roster was coming in. Now Fulton and coach-in-waiting Benji Marshall are at each other's throats.

There's reportedly a kiss and make up meeting this week, but guess what? Sheens hasn’t scored an invite.

Last week, Sheens was kept in the dark again. Sacked Titans coach Justin Holbrook was in town and Pascoe organised an informal meet and greet so they could get to know each other.

Rugby league being rugby league, the catch-up was being whispered loudly in media circles yet Sheens dismissed it as "paper talk". Sheens is either being shut out deliberately or the Tigers hierarchy don’t see any need to involve him in very important matters.

Either way, the veteran coach should be concerned. Very concerned.

Sharks debacle exposes big issue

Craig Fitzgibbon is one of the game's nice guys but it's time for him to get ruthless if he wants the Sharks to do anything this year. Cronulla's insipid performance against the Warriors was surely the last time he goes in with the same side.

It was yet another soft performance against a top eight team. As soon as the blowtorch is applied to this Cronulla side, it melts like a block of ice in the sun.

They'll be wasting their time in the finals if this is what they serve up. So, who comes in?

A spot simply must be found for outstanding utility Tracey Connor and Braydon Trindall must also come in for serious consideration after scoring a double in the NSW Cup at the weekend. Young centre Kayal Iro has also been banging down the door for some time.

Who departs? Well, we hate to say this because he's been a wonderful servant for the club but Wade Graham's time may have come to an end.

And Matt Moylan is again under heavy scrutiny as the Sharks' edge defence fell to pieces in Auckland. Sifa Talakai's time in the centres may also come to a finish to accommodate Connor, with Trindall to partner Nicho Hines in the halves.

Fitzgibbon needs to do something and do it fast.

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