Rugby League


Deans visits Raiders for a goss, not spot of poaching

He's already lured Israel Folau to the dark side, and the sight of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans at Canberra Raiders training would normally incite panic at NRL HQ.

Green Machine fans can rest easy. Deans was not in town to cast his eye over the likes of Josh Dugan, but to meet Raiders coach David Furner, who shares his love of cross-code pollination.

Both men have been under intense pressure and criticism in recent years, with their sides enduring losing streaks at times.

What they also have in common is a passion for picking the brains of coaches in other sports, always striving for that decisive edge.

Last Monday, Furner visited AFL premiers Sydney Swans, picking up some valuable tips on rehabilitation and recovery procedures.

He also visited the London headquarters of Red Bull formula one ace Mark Webber in 2011, and hopes to organise a meeting with Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson when he heads to England with the Kangaroos for the World Cup in November.


A few weeks ago, he addressed WNBL side Canberra Capitals' players during their nine-game losing streak, speaking on how to emerge from a slump.

Deans has chewed the fat with rugby league coaches Royce Simmons and Tim Sheens in the past, and forged a strong bond with Penrith coach Ivan Cleary when Cleary was with the Warriors and Deans at the Canterbury Crusaders.

During last year's spring tour, Deans also enjoyed a coffee with Martin O'Neill, the manager of English Premier League side Sunderland.

''It helps you become a better coach,'' Furner said on Thursday.

''If you lay idle, that's when you're going to be left behind.

''If you pick up one thing it's successful, opportunities to visit different codes or sports and see how they go about things is great. You have to look at every angle you can - everyone's looking for that edge.''

Furner did not go into specifics about his conversation with Deans, but said it was a general chat about what lessons they could learn from each other's training methods.

''He was catching up with a few people [in Canberra] and saw the opportunity [to watch a training session], we just talked about when the Wallabies start and where they're at. Just a general chat, talking about how their game has changed, and the limited preparation they have for the British and Irish Lions tour,'' he said.

Furner also plans to catch up with British and Irish Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell when the tourists are in town to play the ACT Brumbies in June. They became friends when they played for Super League club Wigan during the twilight of his career.

Furner said he and Deans did not discuss how best to deal with the pressures of the public's expectations. ''We didn't go into that, that's the job,'' he said.