Sheens is en­thused by ea­ger young charges

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SUPER LEAGUE KICK-OFF - Dave Craven RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER Email: Twit­ter: @DCravenYPS­port

WITH HIS in­ces­sant drive, bound­less en­thu­si­asm and sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed, it is easy to for­get Hull KR head coach Tim Sheens has been in rugby league for over half-a-cen­tury.

Now aged 67, you might think the vet­eran Aus­tralian would want to be tak­ing things slower.

As yet another sea­son ap­proaches and the for­mer Can­berra Raiders chief pre­pares to chal­lenge him­self and his squad once more, what is it that un­der­pins that in­sa­tiable ap­petite – a sim­ple, in­nate love of the game?

Speak­ing to The York­shire Post, Sheens ad­mit­ted: “Well, of course it is. I’ve been in­volved in the sport since I was seven years old, so it’s done everything for me.

“I’ve trav­elled the world, I’ve met some fab­u­lous peo­ple, I’ve worked with some fab­u­lous peo­ple.

“For me it’s a plea­sure to turn up with these guys, the new gen­er­a­tion of young men who 100 per cent want to be there.

“You’ve never not got any­one at train­ing who doesn’t want to be there.

“There’s the odd guy who doesn’t like how hard it might be but, over­all ev­ery­one there wants to be there.

“At KR, too, we have a lot of trav­ellers; peo­ple who travel a long dis­tance to play with us and do that ev­ery sec­ond day.

“We have a big trav­el­ling group (from West York­shire), so the lads have their own small mini-bus that brings them in all to­gether.

“That de­sire to be there helps fuel me.

“On the odd day that I’m not feel­ing up to spring­ing out of bed, you’ve got all those young guys who want to be there and the coach­ing staff is ter­rific, too.”

The weeks of plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion over this lat­est off­sea­son, not to men­tion the graft put in to bounce straight back out of the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son, will all come to fruition as Rovers be­gin life in Super League again when Wake­field Trin­ity visit for their cam­paign opener on Fri­day.

For the red and white army of fans, play­ing top-flight rugby league once more af­ter their year in ex­ile, will be all the more ex­cit­ing.

But Sheens – who led the Kan­ga­roos to the 2013 World Cup – in­sists he will not get caught up in what should be a re­joice­ful night.

“Ob­vi­ously the oc­ca­sion is go­ing to be big­ger,” he said.

“But for me, coach­ing is coach­ing, and it doesn’t mat­ter who you are coach­ing or where and when.

“I’ve been in­volved a long time and I don’t get ruf­fled by too many things.

“We got a good re­sponse at home last year with the crowds’ sup­port. They were ter­rific with their num­bers. I don’t know whether we’ll get any more on Fri­day. Ob­vi­ously there’s more in­ten­sity and a lit­tle bit more pres­sure (in Super League), but we were tipped to win it (Cham­pi­onship) last year so we’ve played un­der that pres­sure.

“We’ve only been tipped to come sec­ond-last this sea­son…”

Many peo­ple have pre­dicted Rovers will be straight back into a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle again this year but it is ir­rel­e­vant in his eyes.

“You wouldn’t think War- ring­ton would be in the Middle Eights last year or Leeds the year be­fore,” he said.

“This is the good thing about our sport; you plan for things but the wheels fall off, for what­ever rea­son.

“Given what’s hap­pened in the last cou­ple of years, you’d be stupid to say that any team at the mo­ment couldn’t fin­ish in there.

“This open­ing Wake­field game has ob­vi­ously been our main fo­cus for at least three weeks, with the Hull trial, our train­ing camp and Fri­day’s trial against Lon­don.

“We want to get a good start if we can.

“It’s im­por­tant to win as many home games as pos­si­ble; if you look at the stats most sides that do that gen­er­ally are up there to­wards the end of the sea­son so we’re re­ally fo­cus­ing heav­ily on those home games.”

One of the most dec­o­rated coaches in rugby league who has worked in Syd­ney, Can­berra and Townsville, Sheens has rel­ished op­er­at­ing in the hot­bed of Hull.

He said: “I’ve found liv­ing in Hull bril­liant. I’ve had no trou­ble in the city. I know about the ‘Black and White, Red and White’ sce­nario but no one’s pulled me up. Mind you I don’t wear the (Rovers) cap around town!

“From the Robins’ fans point of view, once you cross that bridge and head over to the game, to see them all come out, those colours and hear them sing, it is great.”


INCOG­NITO: For­mer Aus­tralia World Cup-win­ning coach and cur­rent Hull KR chief, Tim Sheens, says he loves liv­ing there, but jokes that it doesn’t ex­tend to wear­ing his club cap around the city.

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