Canberra Raiders interim coach Andrew Dunemann. Photo: Melissa Adams
Raiders great Mal Meninga is expected arrive in Canberra this week to help the search for a new head coach.
And senior players have endorsed interim coach Andrew Dunemann as David Furner's long-term replacement after they were impressed by his display in a tumultuous first week in charge.
Meninga, Raiders chief executive Don Furner and board members David Thom and Dr Allan Hawke are part of a sub-committee charged with finding David Furner's replacement.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga will help the Raiders find their next coach. Photo: Mark Kolbe
Furner's sacking as head coach and the continued drama surrounding wayward centre Blake Ferguson ensured Dunemann faced a baptism of fire.
Vice-captain Brett White said Dunemann's chances of assuming the role full-time were enhanced after he united the group before Sunday's 36-22 loss to Manly.
White assisted Dunemann when he was Raiders under-20 coach last year after suffering a season-ending knee injury.
''I was quite impressed, one day he'll certainly coach an NRL side,'' White said.
''It wasn't until he took over on Tuesday [after Furner's sacking], how he handled that situation and got the group to focus on football was outstanding.
''He rocketed up the ranks in my thoughts on him coaching the side, he showed a lot of potential in that last week.''
Dunemann has been interviewed for the vacant North Queensland post, but Canberra prop David Shillington backed him to lead the Raiders next year.
Two weeks before Furner's sacking, Shillington phoned Cowboys prop and Queensland Origin teammate Matt Scott to endorse Dunemann's coaching ability.
''Everyone's fully behind him, I'm hoping he'll get the gig next year,'' Shillington said.
''Obviously I don't know all the candidates, but I think he'd be a great first grade coach.
''If the Raiders don't pick him up, I'd be surprised if the Cowboys don't. I think he'll get one of those two jobs, for sure.''
The loss to the Sea Eagles means the Raiders must now win their final two matches against New Zealand (away) on Saturday and Cronulla (home) to have any chance of playing finals.
But White insisted it would be unjust if Dunemann's hopes of coaching Canberra next year hinged on those results.
''We didn't get the result [against Manly], the reasons why we didn't aren't things you can change in a week,'' White said.
''They're things which need to be changed in a pre-season, it's unfair for him to be judged on the team's performance over the next couple of weeks.
''There's a lot to coaching outside of game plans and strategies, he was excellent in that area.''
Dunemann stamped his authority on the side immediately by refusing to select Ferguson for the Manly game.
He also reinstated Reece Robinson to fullback and shifted Anthony Milford to the halves. The duo were Canberra's most dangerous players against the Sea Eagles.
''We don't like losing, but we at least needed to display the right attitude,'' Shillington said. ''He's tweaked a few things, but nothing too drastic.''