Manly coach Geoff Toovey says he’d be up to the challenge of reclaiming rugby league’s world No. 1 status from New Zealand if asked to replace Tim Sheens as Kangaroos coach.
A little over a week after he was sacked as Manly coach for next season, Toovey has signalled his interest in the national job should Sheens be moved on as expected.
Sheens is currently working with Super League club Salford on a full-time basis as a director of rugby.
However he is in real danger of losing his job as Australian coach after suffering back-to-back defeats to the Kiwis, including last year’s Four Nations final.
“As far as I’m aware, Tim Sheens made it clear that he’s got a contract with the Australian side. That’s where the position stays,” Toovey said on Thursday.
“(But) at some time in the future, it’d be a great honour to have that position.”
Toovey declared New Zealand, who also defeated Australia in the mid-year Test match in May, now set the benchmark in the international game.
“They’re the world champions, and that’s the benchmark. I like a challenge, so for that reason alone, it’d be great to get the position.”
With at least five games remaining under his tenure, the Sea Eagles legend said he was focused on helping his team sneak into the finals.
Sitting two points outside the top eight in 11th spot, Manly host defending premiers South Sydney at Brookvale on Friday night.
“My job solely at the moment is to try and make sure we get the best out of these players these remaining five matches,” he said.
“And hopefully with a bit of luck – which we need a bit of luck – we’ll be in the semi-finals.”
Early last month Sheens explained that the Australian head coaching role was appointed on a one-year contract basis but suggested changes were afoot.
“I’ve had seven one-year contracts, but the way it’s done in the future may change and they may go with a contracted role and have someone full-time,” he said.
“However those kinds of decisions don’t get made until around November, especially with Australia not having any fixtures to compete in at the end of the year.”