WHEN this column was penned late yesterday, the coaching career of Tim Sheens seemingly lay in the balance.
This morning he may still be coach of the Wests Tigers, he could be headed to Auckland or he might be on the dole.
If it is the latter - and I doubt that will be the case for long - the rising 62-year-old will have left an unbelievable rugby league legacy.
Many will argue that for someone who has coached a record 669 games in the NRL, his less than 50% win rate and just four premierships over 28 seasons is nothing to write home about. And that may well be fair criticism.
But no-one can argue the coaching masterclass that Sheens has passed on to his former pupils. For starters, two of his ex-players - Mal Meninga and Ricky Stuart - were in charge of the respective combatants in this year's Origin series, arguably the best in its 32-year history.
Two more - Craig Bellamy and Michael McGuire - may well be facing off in next week's grand final while other current NRL coaches, David Furner and John Cartwright, played under him, as did Storm assistant coach Kevin Walters. Add Blues new Origin coach Laurie Daley to the list and it's as imposing a CV as anyone would need to score a job.
Maybe the NRL should start a coaching academy, with Sheens in charge?
Honest or dumb?
Judging by statements made during the week, Manly players Kieran Foran and Steve Matai are either too damn honest, or fairly dumb.
Inexplicably, Foran admitted he did touch the ball in the controversial benefit-of-the-doubt incident last weekend. Silly, silly boy.
After initially saying he didn't touch it - and obviously telling a porky - he should have left it at that. By fessing up four days later all he could gain was more enemies and when he visits Townsville for the Anzac Test in October, I suggest he never leaves the hotel without four or five burly Kiwi forwards by his side.
And Matai has been just as irresponsible. With a rap sheet that would make Ned Kelly proud, he says he will not change the way he plays. Since 2007 Matai has been charged with 12 offences in the NRL, ranging from reckless high tackles to dangerous contact charges. In that time he has served 22 weeks suspension.
That evidence alone indicates it might be advisable Steve changes the way he plays, even though he says his teammates think otherwise. I would suggest one more guilty verdict might result in a very long holiday.
When I heard that two junior grand finals last weekend involved brawls in which spectators became involved, sadly I was not shocked.
While the incidents were a black mark against our game and once again forced the obnoxious 'thugby league' headline, regrettably this behaviour is symptomatic of today's society. Violence has seemingly become a way of life among our youth.
Our TV screens are full of it; movies scream violence and video games - so I'm lead to believe - sell better if they include violence. While rugby league authorities have to deal with these particular incidents from last weekend and hand out what they believe are appropriate penalties, the social issue runs much deeper.
And I feel for a decent man like Ivan Henjak whose name has been linked to these ugly incidents simply because he just happened to coach one of the teams involved in the fracas.
A ringing noise
Manly coach Geoff Toovey must be cursing former Sea Eagles skipper Max Krilich, who this week said Storm players who beat Manly in the 2007 grand final should hand back their premiership rings.
Because of salary cap rorting Melbourne was stripped of that premiership as well as their victory in 2009, but the players were not asked to return their rings. Krilich used disgraced Olympians forfeiting their gold medals as a fair analogy, but his timing could have been better.
Brett White, who is now with Canberra but played in both winning grand finals, has dared Krilich to attempt to take his ring. And I would suggest a number of current Storm players will share that sentiment tonight.
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