Two losses in three years was enough to dump Ricky Stuart as Australian coach.
So after three defeats in seven months – all of them against the Kiwis – current Kangaroos mentor Tim Sheens is likely to have coached his last Test too.
After losing just once in his first 26 games in charge of the national team, Sunday’s 26-12 capitulation against New Zealand in Brisbane means veteran mentor Sheens has tasted defeat in three of Australia’s past five Tests.
Worst of all, the loss has opened the door for the Kiwis to poach number one spot on the Rugby League International Federation rankings when the Four Nations champions meet England in a three-Test series later this year.
Meanwhile the Kangaroos’ next Test is not for another 12 months, but Sheens admitted after the match that “scrutiny will be on everyone” until then.
He refused to comment on any discussion regarding his own post, but the question needs to be asked: Who’s next?
The obvious candidates are the State of Origin coaches, Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley, while Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has been mentioned as a possible candidate as well. NSW City Origin coach Brad Fittler could also be an outside chance.
Meninga’s credentials are undeniable after helping the Maroons to a record eight straight Origin series wins from 2006-13, while his interstate rival led the Blues to their drought-breaking series win last year.
However, either man who almost certainly have to quit their state post if handed the national team job.
Bellamy has already indicated that the 2016 NRL season will be his last, potentially making the 2012 premiership-winning coach free to take over the reins before the next World Cup.
Sheens’ overall record as Australian coach currently stands at 26 wins, four losses, and one draw, including the 2009 and 2011 Four Nations titles, and the 2013 World Cup.
Mal Meninga – 27 games as Queensland coach for 18 wins, 9 losses (2006-14) including eight series wins; 138 games as Canberra coach for 74 wins, 62 losses, 2 draws (1997-2001).
Laurie Daley – Six games as NSW coach for three wins, three losses (2013-14) including one series win; Six games as NSW Country Origin coach for three wins, two losses, one draw (2008-13).
Craig Bellamy – 345 games as Melbourne coach for 229 wins, 114 losses two draws (2003-) including one premiership; Nine games as NSW coach for two wins, seven losses (2008-10), no series wins; Three games as NSW Country coach for one win, two losses (2005-07).
Brad Fittler – 60 games as Sydney Roosters coach for 25 wins, 34 losses, one draw (2007-09); Four games as NSW City coach for one win, two losses, one draw (2012-15).