Troubled star Blake Ferguson has seemingly played his last game for the Canberra Raiders. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra Raiders players are resigned to never again playing with controversial star Blake Ferguson, with teammate Josh McCrone saying the representative centre has ''chosen his path''.
As revealed in The Canberra Times, Ferguson's Raiders career is all but over after he was left out of the team to play the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Saturday.
In other developments at the Raiders:
Josh McCrone. Photo: Rohan Thomson
■ Senior players hope they are consulted in the search for sacked coach David Furner's replacement.
■ Former assistant coach Andrew McFadden emerged as a keen applicant for the job.
■ McCrone and Josh Papalii backed interim coach Andrew Dunemann to remain in charge.
■ There are also fears within the club that a drawn-out search for a new coach could affect player retention, with a number of players weighing up their futures beyond next season.
Dunemann has taken a tough and immediate stance on addressing club culture, overlooking Ferguson for selection for a second consecutive game.
Ferguson has not met with his Raiders teammates since his no-show for Canberra's loss to Manly on Sunday and was not at training on Tuesday.
McCrone was frank when asked about Ferguson's chances of playing for the Raiders again.
''He's chosen his path so now I guess he's just got to keep going down that direction,'' McCrone said.
''With his talent, I'd like him to [play on for the Raiders], but I can't see him playing again this year.
''[The incidents] off the field have been really bugging us.
''I don't know about what's happened, but it doesn't seem like too much has changed.
''You can't pick yourself if you're not training, can you?''
Ferguson is expected to activate a get-out clause in his contract at the end of the year.
A four-man subcommittee - which includes Raiders great Mal Meninga - is about to start the search for the next Canberra coach.
Timing of the appointment is crucial, with several players growing restless as they decide their futures.
Players including Jack Wighton and McCrone are off contract at the end of 2014.
Wighton, in particular, is already rumoured to be in demand by rival clubs.
While Dunemann holds the position temporarily, interest in the Raiders' coaching job is growing and chief executive Don Furner has been fielding interest.
Fairfax Media understands McFadden is planning to apply, he having left the Raiders last year to take up an assistant role at the Warriors.
Former Raiders captain Alan Tongue has backed sacked North Queensland coach Neil Henry to return to Canberra, despite Henry's decision to exercise an out-clause and walk out on the club at the end of 2008.
McCrone hoped senior players would be consulted.
''I think it would be a good idea to ask some of the senior players [for input],'' McCrone said. ''But at the end of the day, you can't give them all the power to pick.
''They're the people experienced in these things, but I think it would be silly not to ask the players.''
An advantage Dunemann may have is his strong relationship with rookie sensation Anthony Milford, who has sought a release on compassionate grounds to return to Queensland.
Papalii, who lives with Milford, backed Dunemann.
''Hopefully he sticks around, I definitely know the boys are pretty keen to have him next year,'' Papalii said.
''I live in the same house [as Milford] but we haven't talked about [his situation].
''I think everyone would love to see him stay, but he has to do the best for him and family.
''I'll support him what ever he does.''