THE faction trying to get rid of Tim Sheens from the Wests Tigers failed in a secret play to bring Ricky Stuart to the club – but they live in hope of moving Sheens to the Warriors. The big problem is the Tigers can’t afford the $1 million payout to Sheens, who is contracted until the end of 2014. There was a quiet push to bring Stuart to the club before the NSW coach signed with the Eels last month with the idea that Sheens could be placed at Parramatta. Those pushing for that to happen now admit they moved way too slowly. Sheens is not unpopular with the Tigers players and is still considered an excellent coach – there’s just a feeling it may be time for a new voice at the club. The usual suspects, including ex-St George Illawarra mentor Nathan Brown and Royce Simmons, are getting a mention at the Tigers. Sheens negotiated a deal worth about $600,000 to stay with the joint-venture club – he is set to receive a 75 per cent payout if his contract is terminated early. The move to place him at another club is designed to lighten the financial burden on the Tigers, who would then need a new coach. The fact the Tigers can’t afford to pay him out shows they have some money issues and Sheens has been forced to work under that constraint. Sheens remains confident he has board support.Andon’s words of inspiration
TO MANY, Laura Andon has lived the dream life. Professional surfer, presenter, actress and now author. The 27-year-old Sydneysider has just penned a book documenting her journey through life in an effort to inspire people to chase what is important to them. Called The Ride of Life, it also doubles as a manual to teach people to surf. ”I was lucky enough to be a pro surfer when Billabong sponsored me and I just hope that people can pick up this book and be inspired to get out there and give the sport a go,” she said. Andon has tried her luck at acting – she has learnt it’s a tough gig – but at least she got to audition for roles in Man on a Ledge and Charlie’s Angels. ”Yeah, I missed out to Rachael Taylor,” she laughed. Andon has just fronted a new travel adventure program called Miss Adventure, which looks like being picked up in America.Roosters for Quade?
FORMER Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has urged Quade Cooper to quit rugby and go and play for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL. Cooper is yet to re-sign with the ARU despite having a contract with the Queensland Reds but Jones, a long-time Cooper fan, says the star Wallabies No.10 looks completely out of sorts playing in a team coached by Robbie Deans. Jones caught up with Cooper’s manager, Khoder Nasser, in Tokyo last week where the pair had a long discussion about Cooper and Sonny Bill Williams. ”It’s clear to me that Quade has lost all confidence playing in the current set-up and I think it’s time for him to go and start something new,” Jones said. ”Quade is a brilliant player who could succeed at anything and I think the ideal home for him would be playing fullback for the Roosters next year. I don’t know what their salary cap situation is like but I think they should make room for him if they can. And this isn’t an insult to Anthony Minichiello. I’m sure he would be just as comfortable playing wing for the Roosters and with someone like Cooper at the back it would give the Roosters a dynamic set-up.” Cooper has made no secret of the fact he’d like to play in the NRL one day, however, there have been no talks with the Reds about negotiating a release from that contract.Against the odds
DAVID FURNER asked this column not to write about his wife Kellie’s battle with breast cancer several weeks ago, but he made it public at the Raiders’ presentation dinner when he marvelled at her toughness this year. It was a moving moment from a man who has long been considered one of the toughest to have played the game. Furner is the first to acknowledge what his wife and others who have been involved in a cancer fight know all about real adversity. But it’s also a mark of his courage – he’s coached the Raiders in a difficult environment throughout the year – with calls for his head a common thing for the majority of the year. He didn’t flinch or lose his belief in what he was doing. Now everyone knows where he got his resolve. More strength to the Furners.The main man
NEWS LTD boss Kim Williams may be the man who determines what Craig Bellamy does next. What is certain is that the Warriors or any other club that wants him will need to shell out big dollars. His agent, John Fordham, made a quick trip to Auckland two weeks ago but it is believed that trip was for pleasure not business. However, my spies saw him with Warriors officials after Tuesday night’s Dally Ms. It is my understanding the Warriors tabled a $4 million offer for three years – that kind of contract will put him in Wayne Bennett’s pay league. With Ricky Stuart signed at the Eels, the Roosters board were known to be urging chairman Nick Politis to try to secure Bellamy but it would have required the co-operation of the Storm’s owner, News Ltd. Fordham knows Williams is the key and told Roosters powerbrokers he would seek a meeting with the News boss if Bellamy wanted a change of scenery. It’s my understanding Fordham was talking to Roosters board members but not Politis. They had a falling out several years ago but are back on talking terms with Fordham a regular in the Roosters’ corporate box. Politis had been told by a third party Bellamy wanted to coach the Roosters but was wary he was being fed that information to pump up Bellamy’s already considerable price tag. Trent Robinson was always favoured by the playing group for the top job – the players give him plenty of credit for the club’s appearance in the 2010 grand final. Politis was keen to stick with Brian Smith but he started to hear stories about the playing group losing respect for the coach – and he smelt a tricky year coming up. Politis chased Tim Sheens before appointing Smith.Kicks keep coming
THERE were plenty of people keen to kick Brian Smith when he was up – and there are more keen to boot him now he is down. He seems to make enemies of players easily. From my perspective he has always been interesting and polite. Former Roosters sprint coach Roger Fabri, who was removed during Smith’s time tweeted “karma” once the news started to spread; Todd Carney replied with “ha ha”. Carney is clearly still seething about comments Smith made to him after he won the Dally M Medal in 2010. He felt Smith didn’t give him the credit he deserved for winning the award. Smith’s departure from the Roosters will open the way for a potential return to the club for Carney, no doubt on big bucks. When Carney left the Roosters his relationship with Braith Anasta was strained. Anasta switching to the Wests Tigers means the coast is clear.Barba a cut above
WHEN Des Hasler was walking out of the Dally M awards on Tuesday night he saw Ben Barba preparing to face the media. He smiled and said: “Take it easy on him.” But he’d know that Barba would have no trouble handling the situation. He was as polished in front of the media as he is on the field. He says he hopes his win is a message to all of those who have been doubted in some capacity. “I just want people to get something out of this if they can, and that is to believe,” he said. “To believe in themselves and not to listen to people who say you can’t do something. I know how that feels and it’s not good. Anything is achievable if you dedicate yourself and you put your mind to things.” As recently as last year Barba was being questioned as a player. “I won’t lie, last year I was affected and I was wondering if I could play fullback or play first grade. There were doubts in my mind about my ability but I just put my head down and dedicated myself to giving it a real go and now I have the rewards. But I’d give it all back to win a premiership.”Parramatta prayers
Ricky Stuart has dealt with some interesting rumours in his long career, and this is up there. He was said to be courting Parramatta signing target Israel Folau by going to church with the GWS Giants drawcard. Stuart had heard the rumour. He politely said it was not quite right.
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