Ambitious Hull KR eye longer contract for coach Tim Sheens

Tim Sheens
Tim Sheens
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HULL KR will start talks with Tim Sheens this week to discuss extending the deal of their promotion-winning coach beyond 2019.

The former Australia chief has piloted the East Yorkshire club back in to Super League at the first attempt after arriving from Salford Red Devils last autumn.

Sheens, who turns 67 next month, initially signed a three-year deal but chairman Neil Hudgell is keen to tie down one of the sport’s most respected coaches further as they prepare to return to the elite.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s 12-6 Qualifiers win over Widnes Vikings, which secured promotion for the Championship leaders with two games still to spare, Sheens talked about the need to now “plan for the next three years”, hinting he may want to stay longer in East Hull than the length of his current deal.

Hudgell told The Yorkshire Post: “We probably will have some dialogue about that during the course of this week. We have systems in place now and we want to properly build on those.

“The coach has proven himself as an unflappable character and, with Saturday being his 700th game, he obviously has a wealth of experience. I’d like to think we will be having those discussions.”

Hull KR players celebrate being promoted to the Super League.

Hull KR players celebrate being promoted to the Super League.

Hudgell met Sheens for an hour on Sunday for talks about more immediate matters such as pushing on and securing transfer targets for 2018 now they know which division they will be in.

“It’s a fine balance between not getting too far ahead of things and being ready to react once it (promotion) happens,” he said.

“We’re in full throttle now. The fact we’ve done the job as quickly as possible does help us a little.

“We’ve another couple of weeks to work with whereas three other (Super League) sides are still in jeopardy so we’re probably a bit ahead of them now in being able to recruit.

We’re in full throttle now. The fact we’ve done the job as quickly as possible does help us a little.

Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell.

“I know Tim’s already had a deluge of calls from agents. We’ll look at bringing in four or five players and are hoping to repeat 2006’s blueprint when we were last promoted; we expect most of the team that got us up will still be around next year with us.”

Hudgell said he had not discussed with Sheens yet whether he wanted to explore trying to retain Huddersfield Giants’ Jamie Ellis and Hull FC’s Jordan Abdull after both spent this campaign on loan at Craven Park.

However, with regards recruitment, he added: “The difficulty is in terms of finding the players. It’s alright saying we’ll spend the full salary cap – we probably will – but you have to find the right players.

“What we did experience this year is seeing our medical staff allow us to field almost our strongest squad for the last two weeks which is no fluke.

Hull KR player Ryan Shaw scores a vital try.

Hull KR player Ryan Shaw scores a vital try.

“That’s down to the preparation over the last six to nine months and getting players on the field at the right time of the season is key.”

Hudgell, who has been chairman since 2004, admitted “relief” was his main emotion on Saturday as KR won a fifth straight Qualifier to seal promotion.

He said: “That was the over-riding one as we had to get out of this league this year. It would have been difficult to carry everyone another time around.

“I don’t know if me and (vice-chairman) Rob (Crossland) would have had the appetite to have another crack. So there was relief but also a realisation we’re only back to where we were just over 12 months ago. This is not the end of the journey.

“I can, though, finally watch the Million Pound Game now. I said I never would until we got promoted. I will now – I know it has a happy ending.”

Hull FC’s Liam Watts will not be banned for his red card against Wigan Warriors.

Happy Rovers fans at the end

Happy Rovers fans at the end