Tim Sheens is set to coach the Wests Tigers in Townsville this weekend, with interim coach Brett Kimmorley to miss the contest after contracting COVID earlier in the week.

Set to take the reins permanently from 2023 onwards, the clash comes just 18 days before the tenth anniversary of Sheens' last win as an NRL coach - a long time between drinks.

Sheens won't be officially named as head coach for the Cowboys match, with the honour expected to be given to either assistant in Ben Gardiner or Nathan Cayless. Despite the lack of title, Sheens will have his fingerprints all over the line-up this weekend.

Following a narrow loss to Penrith, the Tigers will fly to Townsville knowing they are building something with their newfound three-prong attack, including freshly-minted lock Jackson Hastings.

Captain James Tamou - who joins the venerated 300-game club this week - is the only member of this week's 17 that was playing in the NRL when Sheens last had the Wests Tigers clipboard, as was reserve James Roberts, who debuted in 2011.

Despite contracting the virus, Kimmorley will follow the likes of Craig Fitzgibbon and Mick Potter and coach via the phone from his living room.

Both Cronulla and Canterbury lost those respective matches without their head coach available, something Sheens and co will be looking to avoid at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.