HE was identified as an ideal candidate to join the Knights in a director-of-football role and provide incoming head coach Adam O'Brien with a sounding board.
Instead Tim Sheens will continue his 35-year coaching career by taking the reins of second-tier English club Widnes Vikings next season.
Widnes announced on Saturday that Sheens, one of the greatest tacticians in the game's history, had agreed to a two-year deal, subject to him gaining a UK working visa.
"It was a thorough and extensive search, however a coach of Tim's calibre stands out head and shoulders above the rest and it is an incredible coup for the club ... we believe this appointment gives us the ability to change the course of our future," Widnes said in a statement.
Sheens, out of work since he was sacked by Hull KR five months ago, takes over a famous club at a low ebb.
Founded in 1875, Widnes were relegated from Super League after finishing last in 2018 and encountering financial strife that resulted in the club being placed into administration. The Vikings survived but only after agreeing to operate on a "part-time budget". They finished fourth from bottom in the Championship this season.
Having helped Hull KR win promotion from the Championship to Super League, Sheens said in an interview on the Vikings' website that he was "aware of the challenge" but confident he could re-establish Widnes as a top-tier outfit.
"It's a tougher competition than most people think," Sheens said of the Championship.
"It might be part-time, but a lot of the players have had a lot of Super League experience.
"They're tough, they play tough ... the top five clubs are always generally very strong."
Knights chief executive Phil Gardner spoke to Sheens in September to sound him out and reported that the 68-year-old said "he would be happy to have a conversation with us".
But Gardner added that O'Brien was the head coach, "so ultimately, it will be his call".
In an illustrious career, Sheens won premierships with Canberra (1989, 1990 and 1994) and Wests Tigers (2005) and also coached both NSW and Australia.