Brad Fittler has dismissed interest in working with Wests Tigers but said there is a ‘big job’ awaiting newly appointed coaching director Tim Sheens if Michael Maguire is shown the door.
After the Tigers’ season ended with just eight wins and having missed out on finals footy once again, pressure has mounted on Maguire’s tenure as head coach. Earlier this month Fittler was linked to the job and initially the Blues coach said he “wouldn’t write off anything” when asked if he would consider coaching the Tigers if approached.
But he’s changed his tune since.
“Brad Fittler won’t be doing it,” the Roosters and Penrith legend said on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy & The Eighth.
Fittler said there were some “great opportunities” at the Tigers with Sheens returning to Leichhardt to help solve the club’s coaching woes in a director role.
“In the minimal amount of press I’ve been reading it looks like Madge [Maguire] won’t be there next year,” Fittler said.
“Cameron Ciraldo is one [that might become coach] – he’s going to have plenty of experience.
“But I think there’s some great opportunities there.
“I think Tim Sheens is a really good choice to have around the club, just with his experience.”
Sheens, 70, famously coached the 2005 NRL Premiership-winning Wests Tigers side during his 10 seasons at the helm. He has also coached the Australian Kangaroos, NSW Blues and NSW City.
After leaving the Tigers following the 2012 season, having coached 250 games, Sheens left Australia to coach English clubs Hull Kingston Rovers and Widnes Vikings, via a stint as club director at Salford Red Devils.
His return to the Tigers will be vital to rebuilding the struggling club to be a Premiership contender again, Fittler said, and it starts by better talent scouting in the Macarthur region of south-western Sydney.
“He’s got a great passion for the game Tim Sheens. And the other part of it, is they need to work down that Macarthur corridor,” Fittler said.
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“They really need to invest in that area and what better person than someone like Tim Sheens to support a coach as they [do that].
“This is a big job.
“When you’re not just worrying about a footy team, but actually also talking about working with the community and when you need to get that up and running, it’s a big job, so they need to pick [the next coach] carefully.”