Cryptic Sheens takes on umpires, NRL and previews Shock Tigers’ spine remodeling

West Tigers boss Tim Sheens has responded to his side’s third loss with a cryptic, slightly bizarre media conference targeting umpires, announcing a preview of a major spine overhaul just three weeks into the season and raising serious questions about the NRL’s warm weather put politics.

He delivered a cryptic presser after the 26-22 loss to the Bulldogs at Belmore and mused about making Adam Doueihi full-back on a permanent basis, but dismissed questions about a midgame spine recast that saw David Nofoaluma off his wing was hooked

He continued to complain about the conditions but insisted he made no public statement on the matter, highlighting incidents but refusing to specify what he believed went against his side.

“There are a couple of incidents that I will fret about later that may have changed the game at the back end. I’ll take it up with the referees,” he began.

When pressed by reporters, he refused to explain what incidents he was talking about, leading to widespread confusion.

“Both teams had a lot of mistakes, but if you’ve ever been to the arena you’ll understand what I’m talking about out there,” was his reply. “It’s not easy under these conditions.”

The weather was unbelievably warm, touching 34 degrees at kick-off, and suggestions had been made throughout the week that matches would be postponed to a later hour to accommodate the heat.

Sheens struggled with the NRL not postponing the game, but appeared to retract his criticism almost immediately after it was made public.

“We’re looking forward to the cooler weather, but both teams have suffered,” said Sheens. “We’re talking about the welfare of the players – we had to put them back into training because of the World Cup and then we stick them in those conditions at four in the afternoon.”

“I think you can get an idea of ​​it, but I’m not going to make a big public statement about it. If we had won the game, maybe I would have done it.”

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Cameron Ciraldo, the winning coach, said his side did everything they could to prepare for hot days like this.

“We knew we were playing those times all preseason, so we practiced those times,” the Bulldogs boss said.

“It was really hot out there today, it was tough but the drink breaks were good and the extra half helped the lads. We knew all pre-season that we were going to play in these conditions, so we trained for that.”

The third topic on the agenda was a midgame shift that got David Nofoaluma hooked. Sheens pulled the winger back, shoved aside full-back Charlie Staines and dropped Adam Doueihi backwards while Brandon Wakeham got in the half to assist Luke Brooks.

Brooks, carrying the 7, came alive and appeared more like a five-eighth on the floor with Wakeham, a career halfback. Though the move worked well, Sheens refused to answer questions about why he made it in the first place.

“I don’t want to call it right now,” he said when asked. “I don’t want to talk about it, I won’t justify what I did.”

However, he later added that the move that saw Doueihii switch to full-back could potentially be maintained in the future.

“We practiced that all week, that was the thing. Adam hasn’t practiced all week except for the captain’s run yesterday, so it always looked better when the two boys played together.

“Things weren’t going for us, so I pushed Adam back there. I’m not saying he was the superstar but he put us back there and he’s dominating the calls so maybe he could get a little more time there.” Cryptic Sheens takes on umpires, NRL and previews Shock Tigers' spine remodeling

Russell Falcon

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