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Tim Sheens emerges as Kangaroos bolter
By Laine Clark - Daily Telegraph (NSW Metropolitan, 3 February 2009)

Bolter ... veteran West Tigers coach Tim Sheens. Photograph: Stephen Cooper / The Daily Telegraph

A BETTING plunge on Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has established the NRL veteran mentor as the new dark horse for the Australia job.

And Tigers chief executive Scott Longmuir has thrown his support behind the former NSW Origin coach, saying Sheens would be "fantastic for Australia".

The four-time premiership coach has leapfrogged ex-Cowboys mentor Graham Murray as the bolter after being backed in from $21 to $4 to be given the Kangaroos gig.

After Mal Meninga claimed he would not relinquish his beloved Queensland job for a national nod, the likes of Manly coach Des Hasler and Gold Coast's John Cartwright have emerged as leading Kangaroos contenders.

But Sheens may yet loom large when the ARL discusses candidates at their board meeting on February 23.

Longmuir believed Sheens was just what Australia needed as they regrouped following their World Cup final defeat and the sensational departure of Ricky Stuart.

"We would be very supportive of Tim if he was asked to be the Australian coach," he said.

"I think it would be fantastic for Australia as well.

"Tim is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game.

"He is excellent with elite players and is a great statesman.

"I think it would also be a very deserving appointment.

"I know Tim would do an exceptional job."

According to Sportingbet Australia, money began coming in for Sheens last week.

"Tim Sheens has clearly been the best backed in recent days which would suggest he is right in the mix to take over from Ricky Stuart," Sportingbet Australia CEO Michael Sullivan said.

But Hasler ($2.25) and Cartwright ($3.25) remain the favourites.

"John Cartwright was very well backed last week with his price tumbling from $11 to $3.25 and having been an assistant for the Kangaroos, he is right in the mix," said Sullivan.

Cartwright has warmed to the task, saying taking over the national job will not disrupt his Titans commitments.

"There is only one Test match through the year and there is a tour at the end of the year," Cartwright told reporters.

"It is not something that bites into your year like State of Origin can.

"I don't think the Australian job is as strenuous on your club.

"There is a lot of pressure involved in the job but it is something that, if offered to you, you would be mad not to do.

"It is what you always aspire to as a player and it is no different being a coach." | End

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