TIM Sheens is embarking on his first full season at Salford Devils in 2016. Having spent the best part of the last five years as the Australian national coach, he is relishing the full time role Salford gives him.
“It’s good to be up at 5 and 6am to get to training again,” Sheens said. “Rep footy is a completely different animal… you miss the day to day challenges of club footy, and I’m really happy to be back working in that environment.”
Given the game at Featherstone was called off due to a frozen pitch and terracing being deemed too dangerous for fans, Sheens explained what he felt the club learned from the Rochdale game.
“We’ve still got some work to do defensively, we’re a bit ring rusty as well. No excuses, but we didn’t have our best side on the field.
“Quality sides like your Wigan’s (Devils next opponents) won’t give you time to settle if they get 12 to 18 in front.
“Ian (Watson) is still looking at who our starting halves will be, but had the game gone ahead, we were going to start Rob Lui and have Dobbo on the bench.”
He explained how last season, suspensions and injury left the club stretched.
“When we lost Rangi (Chase) with that suspension, and Dobbo was injured, Theo (Fages, now at St Helens) ended up being the only half we had, and he carried the team himself.
“We’ve a little more depth this year in that regard in our spine. There are also options at Full Back as well, so we’re looking a lot stronger.”
After the late night capture of Josh Jones last week, Sheens explained the clubs transfers plans.
“I’ve got my eye on no one in particular, but we’ve still got a little bit of room under the salary cap to strengthen, but only if it’s the right fit for us.”
Explaining the Jones signing, he expanded: “Josh fell into our lap somewhat. We had money, but he wanted to play here, so it was done within 48 hours. Once we’d had our interview, he and I, I really took to the kid.
“His ability to play all of the three back row spots plugs a hole for us. He’s the right age, 23, young legs and ready to go.
“He only played a week ago, so he’s match fit as he arrives. We’d look to play him against Wigan, and then he’s got three weeks to fall into place with the guys.
“He knows and has played with Flash (Mark Flanagan) and Gaz O’Brien, so that will help him when he gets here.”
When pressed about the fans perceived lack of power in the prop department, Sheens is forthright in his stance.
“There’s no doubt I’d still like to have Scotty Taylor at the club, but we’re still missing George Griffin who’s training really well, Phil Joseph and Ben Murdoch can play front row also, and we might throw him in against Wigan.
“I’d have loved to have an established eight/10, but with George and Phil still to come in, as well as Craig Kopczak as well as Adam and Jordan Walne, we’re getting stronger.”
He went on to say that the way the squad looks at the minute reminds him of the 2005 Wests Tigers squad he put together. They had no “big” names, but all played for each other.
He expects a few bumps as the squad finally get to know each other before the season kicks off on the February 5.
By: Andie Riley