Tim Sheens responds to awkward Benji Marshall question amid Wests Tigers dramas

The Wests Tigers coach has addressed the role he and Benji Marshall play at the embattled club.

Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall.
Tim Sheens has addressed claims over his and Benji Marshall's roles at the Wests Tigers. Image: Getty

Tim Sheens has moved to insist he is still running the show at the Wests Tigers despite being left out of meetings between assistant coach Benji Marshall and recruitment boss Scott Fulton this week. Reports continue to emerge of warring factions at the embattled NRL club, with Marshall and Fulton said to be at odds on a number of issues.

Club chairman Lee Hagipantelis and chief executive Justin Pascoe met with Marshall and Fulton to sort out their differences this week, but Sheens was reportedly nowhere to be seen. Marshall is set to take over as head coach from Sheens in 2025, but many believe he has already done so and will be the main man in 2024.

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Marshall has been seen calling the shots during games a number of times this year, with Sheens playing more of a backseat role. But Sheens continues to insist he has always done the same thing with his assistant coaches throughout his career.

When asked on Wednesday if he's still the head coach and will be next year, Sheens replied: “Yes I am. Yes. That’s what my contract says.

“I’ve been around long enough to hear the noise and navigate through the noise. If you win games that shuts the noise down.

“I’m first grade coach and as with most clubs they have attack coaches and defensive coaches and Benji does attack. I’m educating them and giving them some rein or some ability to create what they want to create within the group.

“It’s no different to most clubs. The senior coach does more a managerial role in many ways. That doesn’t mean I’m not picking the team or not involved in picking the team. I am.”

Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall.
Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall look on before a Wests Tigers game. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Tim Sheens confident Marshall and Fulton can gel

Fulton, who was formerly at Manly, was hired without the knowledge of Sheens, Marshall and fellow assistant coach Robbie Farah. He has reportedly been critical of Marshall's coaching style, and his godfather Peter Peters even questioned whether Marshall had a conflict of interest in targeting certain players to recruit.

But Sheens insisted Fulton and Marshall can work together. "I don't think there's going to be an issue where someone can't work with someone," he said. "We've all got to be professional in these sorts of situations.That's what I expect from both guys.

He added: "That's what we're doing all the time, is talking about our recruitment. Not only from outside in, bringing people in or what we've got to do, it's our juniors and our own kids and obviously the halves situation at the club, by way of experienced halves is an obvious one. When we identify something (for the halves), we'll let you all know."

Discussing the situation on NRL 360 on Wednesday night, Gorden Tallis asked how Marshall could work with a recruitment boss “that’s going around bagging you.” Journalist Michael Carayannis added: “The Tigers officials are aware of those comments.

“They know what’s been said and who’s said it. How can you sell the message of hope and optimism and ‘come and play for this coach’ when deep down you don’t actually believe he’s a good coach?”

The Tigers are currently in last place on the ladder, winning just three games out of 17 in Sheens' first year back as head coach. They will take on the 16th-placed Dragons on Thursday night in a match touted as the battle for the wooden spoon.

"We don't talk about wooden spoons," Sheens said. "We've got to put another win on the board, that's for sure, to help shut all you guys (the media) down, to start with. It's no different, every week we're chasing the win."

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