David Furner sacked by Canberra Raiders…but why now?

Dan Talintyre Roar Guru

By Dan Talintyre, Dan Talintyre is a Roar Guru

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    Blake Ferguson is tackled by Tyrone Roberts. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)

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    Despite being three weeks out from the start of the 2013 NRL finals, the Canberra Raiders have made the extraordinary move of sacking head coach David Furner effective immediately according to a press release from the club.

    “The board made the tough decision feeling the team’s inconsistent performances were not reflective of the talent within the squad and have decided to pursue a different direction for the future of the club,” read the statement.

    “[Furner] will leave his tenure at the club as one of the Raiders most loyal and respected figures.”

    According to the statement, Andrew Dunemann will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2013 season while the Raiders hunt for a new head coach.

    And while Dunemann is capable of filling Furner’s shoes for the year, the biggest elephant in the room is clearly as to why Furner was even let go in the first place—especially if there wasn’t a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings.

    Canberra are currently ninth and just goal-difference away from playing finals footy this season. With Manly Sea Eagles, New Zealand Warriors (in New Zealand) and Cronulla remaining on their schedule this season, you’d have thought that the Raiders would have done everything not to rock the boat over the final few weeks.

    For just one little thing could have ended their finals’ chances.

    Or so we all thought.

    Now, the club will play their three remaining games against very competitive teams without their head coach.

    For a club that’s already dealing with the Blake Ferguson saga and is still bearing some scars from Josh Dugan’s departure, it’s just not the move that few (if any) would have made. It’s just not a move that you’d make with finals footy firmly circled on the calendar and in the minds of the players.

    It is believed that Ferguson has a get-out clause in his contract should Furner not be the coach of the Raiders, effectively making the NSW Origin player a free-agent, and a hot commodity for clubs.

    Furner’s last three games in charge saw the Raiders beaten by a combined score of 124-42, with the 68-4 flogging to Melbourne no doubt affecting the board’s decision.

    However, at the same time, it’s important to recognise that those defeats came against three of the best attacking teams in the league—the Bulldogs, the Storm and the Roosters. In fact, in the last eight rounds of the NRL, Canberra have lost just four games — all of which came against teams currently inside the top five.

    Perhaps somewhat fortuitously, the one club that Canberra didn’t lose to in the top five over the past eight weeks is Manly—their opponents for this weekend.

    Obviously it still stands to be seen how the decision to sack Furner and bring in Dunemann will affect the Raiders, but on the surface, it doesn’t look good.

    Many pundits in Canberra have hinted at Furner’s man-management style driving players away, and his record has been ordinary at best.

    But the timing still doesn’t make sense. Maybe it just was a trigger-happy finger from the Raiders’ board; maybe there was something more in the performances of Furner that we don’t yet know.

    The obvious thought is that this won’t help the Raiders’ preparation for their now huge game against Manly on Sunday.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • Roar Guru

      August 20th 2013 @ 5:25pm
      Dan Talintyre said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

      Also worth noting that Blake Ferguson has a get-out clause in his contract if Furner leaves (similar to the one that Benji Marshall had with Tim Sheens). All-but guarantees he won’t be playing for Raiders in 2014.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 8:22pm
        Travis Baird said | August 20th 2013 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

        Good riddance. He should have been stood down for the season and sacked after his Cronulla rampage. Goodbye to anyone else who doesn’t want to be there too.

        I do agree with the article as far as “why (bother) now?”, especially after backing him to the hilt over the past couple of years.

    • August 20th 2013 @ 5:32pm
      aaron said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

      why don’t the players take the blame for once

      • August 20th 2013 @ 5:48pm
        Ballymore said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

        Easier to change 1 coach than 10-20 players.

    • August 20th 2013 @ 5:33pm
      Griffo said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

      Perhaps they’re hoping to gain the advantage of sacked coach syndrome against Manly. The first game after the coach gets the flick teams tend to lift cos the players know they could be next

    • August 20th 2013 @ 5:37pm
      eagleJack said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

      When I first heard this all I could think was dammit Manly play them this w/end. Teams always show up the week after their coach is sacked.

      Right now the gulf between the 2 sides is quite extreme. Let’s see if this strange phenomenon claims another scalp.

      • August 20th 2013 @ 5:44pm
        Jakester said | August 20th 2013 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

        Not Tim Sheens again…

    • August 20th 2013 @ 6:00pm
      The Koomz said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

      WTF! Why drop the bombshell now? On the record, they lost the last 2 games because of poor refereeing.

    • August 20th 2013 @ 6:01pm
      Silver_Sovereign said | August 20th 2013 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

      there is something wrong happening at the raiders. considering the talent they have coming through, currently playing and recently lost or let go, Canberra should be a powerhouse. The likes of Campese, Robinson, Milford, McCrone, Edrick Lee, sandor earl, sam Williams, ferguson and Dugan and Carney who have been let go, is a hell of a lot of talent in the backs. And in the forwards Shillington, White, Papali, Fensom, Tilse and Berrigan is decent too. Need a strong disciplinarian to coach there I think. Lay down the law and get this underperforming lot to consistent top 8 results

      • August 20th 2013 @ 7:23pm
        The eye said | August 20th 2013 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

        on paper only fractionally better than the Tigers..Farrah,Galloway,Woods,Blair,Fulton…Marshall,Lawrence,Korobeite and a heap of u/20s from their premiership winning team..when Robinson asked for effort at 1/2 time his players gve it,when Potter asked well,did you see Galloways effort at receiving THAT pass from Benji,couldnt be bothered..does Potter need a bigger hint from his players ?

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