Terry Campese reportedly met with Thom and Hawkins earlier this week. Photo: Mark Metcalfe
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Canberra Raiders senior players are continuing to distancing themselves from the decision to sack coach David Furner, despite Terry Campese and Brett White admitting they met with Raiders officials less than 24 hours before his axing.
White has also questioned Blake Ferguson’s desire to remain at the Raiders, but is willing to welcome him back the troubled star if he decides to honour the final two years of his contract.
David Shillington denies the players led to Furner's downfall. Photo: Melissa Adams
The Raiders captain and vice-captain met with Raiders Group general manager Simon Hawkins and board member David Thom on Monday - the day before Furner was given his marching orders.
Campese denied the meeting with Hawkins and Thom was designed to have Furner removed with three games remaining in the season.
‘‘We’re forever talking to the board and always talking about things football off the field, on the field, whatever it might be,’’ Campese said.
Brett White, left, says the playing group is excited to get back to business on the field Photo: Graham Tidy
‘‘The meeting Monday was purely about concerns where the future of the club lie, it was never to get Dave the sack.
‘‘Being the captain of the club, I thought it was the best interests to talk about a few things.
‘‘It was not to call for anyone’s head.’’
White admitted there were ‘‘issues’’ within the team, but said there was no recommendation made to the board for Furner to be sacked.
‘‘In every organisation there’s going to be disgruntlement,’’ White said.
‘‘I don’t deny there were issues, but I’m not going into those issues.
‘‘The players don’t make the decision, the board makes the decisions.’’
The Raiders travelled to the NSW south coast on Tuesday for a meeting involving the players and Furner.
However it never took place, Furner getting the news of the board’s decision and leaving the team immediately.
Campese sent Furner a text message straight away and hopes to maintain a close relationship with the club great.
‘‘I’ve worked with him for five years, and he was also my reserve grade coach,’’ Campese said.
‘‘My relationship with Dave can hopefully continue and still be strong.
‘‘I haven’t had the opportunity to speak to Dave yet, I sent him a text message straight away.’’
Ferguson was back at Raiders headquarters on Friday to continue his rehabilitation from injury amid speculation he will activate a release from his contract to return to Sydney.
The NSW State of Origin representative has refused to comment on the speculation, but was in Sydney on Thursday with his cousin and mentor Anthony Mundine.
‘‘As far as Blake’s concerned, it’s up to Blake - does he want to be here? Does he want to play with us,’’ White said.
‘‘If he wants to play, for sure, he’ll be an asset to the team.
‘‘There are issues (with Ferguson) that have gone on in the past and could have been handled better.’’
In positive news, scans have cleared Campese of serious eye damage.
He will return to training on Monday in a bid to be right for next week’s match with the New Zealand Warriors.