Raiders members must replace the board
Blake Ferguson is tackled by Tyrone Roberts during the Round 4 NRL match between the Newcastle Nights and the Canberra Raiders. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)
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So it’s done. The Canberra Raiders have admitted that they have made a mistake, and instead of righting a wrong, they look set to make the same mistake again.
Word has come down that the new coach “must be experienced” with a first grade NRL rap sheet.
The three best young coaches in the NRL are Geoff Toovey and Michael McGuire, both rookies last year, and Trent Robinson, who is likely to be named coach of the year in his debut as a head NRL coach.
The Raiders Board have a long history of getting it wrong with coaches and members should consider voting in a new board that is not aligned with a “jobs for the boys” faction, or be influenced by the media.
The Raiders could have had the games two best modern day coaches in Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy, but they did not want them.
Bennett shared the coaching duties with Don Furner in 1987, but allowed him to go to Brisbane the next year and signed Tim Sheens, who went on to win three Premierships. Bennett went on to win seven Premierships, but it is hard to knock the Sheens appointment even if Bennett is considered a superior coach.
Since Sheens left Canberra in 1996, the coaches have been Mal Meninga, Matt Elliot, Neil Henry and Dave Furner – all unsuccessful; actually that is too kind, try abysmal.
Very rarely do you get the opportunity to buy the best at a bargain basement price.
The Raiders can be forgiven for letting John Ribot gazump them by snatching Wayne Bennett for the Broncos, but when Bennett’s assistant, Craig Bellamy applied for the vacant head coaching job in 2002 he was over looked for Matt Elliot and Ribot said thank you again and grabbed him for the Storm and is now rated the game’s best coach.
If we look at history, other clubs should look closely at the coaches that the Raiders don’t want and it appears they are not prepared to back their judgement on a rookie.
By saying that they need an experienced coach automatically opens the door for more “jobs for the boys”, as opposed to hiring the best coach to take the Raiders forward.
The Board, who already have a long history of poor decisions, have delegated a subcommittee to select a new head coach.
The subcommittee is made up of Raiders CEO Don Furner, who hired his brother David in 2009 and after the Raiders finished 13th, seventh and 15th he actually extended his contract.
Don Furner was also the club’s inaugural coach and the best he did in five seasons was sixth.
Living legend Mal Meninga is also been flown in for his two Bob’s worth and like Don, was also a failed Raiders coach but he is very much part of the inner sanctum and two of the names on the Board’s short list are close mates of Mal’s, Ricky Stuart and Neil Henry.
Henry is also a previously failed Raiders coach (14th and sixth) before going to the Cowboys where he has recently been sacked for a justified poor performance with a star studded list.
Ricky Stuart is a magician the way he keeps getting highly paid jobs after leaving his clubs in ruin. Since taking Cronulla to the finals in 2008, Stuart has won only 15 of 64 matches in almost three full seasons of NRL coaching for a 23 percent success rate.
Seriously guys, this is the Raiders subcommittee short list.
The other members of the Raiders’ subcommittee are business owner, David Thom and Dr. Allan Hawke AC, Chancellor of the Australian National University.
If the media reports are correct and the Raiders Board are serious about hiring a well-documented previously failed coach yet again, then the members should replace the Board immediately.
You have to feel for young coaches like Andrew Duneman, Andrew McFadden, Justin Morgan and Brett Kimmorley who may well be the next Craig Bellamy,