Coaching godfather Warren Ryan claims clubs are too quick to cut coaches to appease sponsors and fans as Wests Tigers contemplate getting rid of the NRL's most experienced mentor, Tim Sheens.
Sheens is in danger of paying the price for the Tigers' failure to make this year's finals series, a situation aggravated by an apparent backlash from the playing group over the forced departure of likable pair Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington to Cronulla.
The Tigers board failed to make a decision on Sheens' future at Thursday night's meeting, but Ryan - who coached three different clubs to a total of six grand finals in the 1980s for two premierships - said getting rid of Sheens would solve little at the club.
"It removes the spotlight from the actual problem and the focus is unfairly on (the coach)," Ryan said of clubs sacking coaches.
"I think it's a by-product of the times where sponsors want victory, clubs want victory.
"There's an awful lot of complexities about winning a comp and about running last too and none of them are all the coach's.
"There's a lot of people involved. It's too cute now for professional footballers, it's never their fault, and the organisation can't sack the whole squad of footballers."
Asked if he was surprised the Tigers were considering getting rid of Sheens, Ryan offered:
"He's the Australian coach. He's coached more football than anybody in the whole footballing world."
Despite a disappointing season results-wise, the tipping point over Sheens' future at the Tigers may have been reached as a result of player dissatisfaction with several roster moves.
So tight was influential playmaker Benji Marshall with Sheens that he once had a clause inserted into his contract allowing him to leave the club if his longtime mentor was sacked.
But even Marshall has this week been musing over the possibility of a change.
The potential loss of Sheens along with the Sydney Roosters decision to part ways with Brian Smith could rob the NRL of two of its most influential characters.
Together they have combined for 1270 games as NRL coaches, just a shade under the total of all the other coaches in the NRL (1328) save for Newcastle's Wayne Bennett, who along with Sheens and Smith are the only men to have coached over 600 games in the NRL.
No other coach in the NRL even has 300 games to his credit, with Melbourne's Craig Bellamy - a Sheens disciple - the next best with 262 games.
Even if Sheens stays to see out the next two years of his contract with the Tigers, the 2013 season will start with 10 clubs who will have appointed new coaches since 2011.
"It's a pressure valve that gets released and everybody focuses on the new coach," Ryan said of the effect a change in coach can have on a club.
"At the Roosters, they are all relatively young guys, someone's going to come in and profit from all the work Smithy's done and all he got was the door."
While Smith's future appears bleak, Sheens is rumoured to be in the sights of the Warriors should his tenure at the Tigers end after 10 seasons.