Former NSW Blues halfback Brett Kimmorley has signed for the Canberra Raiders as an assistant coach. Photo: Getty Images
The Canberra Raiders have declared new assistant coach Brett Kimmorley the final piece of their 2013 puzzle and David Furner is confident the premiership-wining halfback can have an immediate impact for the Green Machine.
In a massive coup for the Raiders, The Canberra Times can reveal Kimmorley has signed a two-year deal to be Furner’s offsider and he will front for his first training session at 7.30am on Monday.
Kimmorley has decided to leave the Canterbury Bulldogs - where he was an assistant to Des Hasler for the grand final side - to move to Canberra.
And in another boost to Canberra’s pre-season schedule, club legend Mal Meninga will be in the capital this week to add his input to off-season training.
Kimmorley’s appointment ends Furner’s search for new assistants after Andrew McFadden moved to the New Zealand Warriors and Justin Morgan was told he was no longer required.
Following McFadden and Morgan’s departure, Furner refused to rush into a decision on replacements.
But now champion No.7 Kimmorley joins Andrew Dunemann on Furner’s revamped coaching structure.
‘‘I’m pretty excited about it, it’s certainly a pretty big boost for us to get Noddy [Kimmorley],’’ Furner told The Canberra Times.
‘‘I’ve been talking about getting the right person and taking my time to find him ... Noddy will complement me and he’ll complement the side and [Dunemann].
‘‘He’s got a very good footy head and he’s going to be a great addition to the footy club so I can’t wait until he gets started.’’
Furner has also appointed a new strength and conditioning coach - Nigel Ashley-Jones - and is still working to find a sports scientist to help his backroom staff.
Furner finalised negotiations with Kimmorley at the end of last week and the former Melbourne Storm, Northern Eagles, Cronulla and Canterbury halfback will waste no time getting started.
The Raiders had spoken to coaching veteran Tim Sheens about the possibility of linking with the club he led to three premierships while juggling his Australian duties.
However, Sheens’s ongoing battle with the Wests Tigers will prevent him from participating in any proposed role in Canberra.
Meninga - the Queensland State of Origin coaching guru - became a part of Furner’s team last year and the former teammates will join forces again when Meninga is in Canberra.
Furner and Dunemann have taken charge of pre-season for the past month, but Kimmorley adds a new dimension to the coaching team.
Morgan was the defensive coach last season, but his departure will see Furner take on more defence responsibility in 2013.
Kimmorley was part of Des Hasler’s support staff at the Bulldogs last season as they charged into the grand final.
But the chance to be more hands on and to work with the Raiders’ young squad is believed to have convinced him to move to Canberra.
‘‘I don’t I want to pigeon hole him into a specialist position, I think he’s extremely strong over a range of areas and he can work with our under-20s and under-18s as well,’’ Furner said of Kimmorley.
‘‘I’m really excited about it because it finalises the last piece in the puzzle and we can give the players the best advice and the best direction.
‘‘He’ll obviously get a great opportunity to be more hands on and have an influence with our squad.’’
Kimmorley played more than 300 NRL games before retiring at the end of the 2010 season.
The Raiders tried to convince him to play one more season in Canberra, but the 36-year-old declined to stay in Sydney with his family.
Now he has committed to help the Raiders chase an elusive premiership for the next two seasons.
Canberra halfback Sam Williams grew up watching Kimmorley establish himself as one of the leading playmakers in the NRL.
He played 20 Tests for Australia and 10 State of Origins for NSW.
‘‘I think he’s going to be a great acquisition to the team and he’s up-to-date with the way halfbacks need to play these days, so I’m looking forward to it,’’ Williams said.
‘‘I haven’t had a chance to work with Noddy before. Good halfbacks often talk about trying to think two plays ahead and that’s going to be something I hope to learn off him.’’