Former Raiders coach in limbo
Former Raiders assistant coach Justin Morgan. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
Sacked Raiders coach Justin Morgan says his career in rugby league is ''in limbo'' and he may be forced to turn down his appointment as an NRL video referee because of a contractual stand-off with Canberra.
Four months after being cut by the Raiders, Morgan remains on Canberra's payroll because he has not been able to negotiate a payout for his $130,000-a-year salary as an assistant coach.
The conflict of interest would make it impossible for Morgan to officiate on NRL matches while still getting paid by the Raiders.
Sacked by the Raiders one year into his two-year deal, Morgan said the Raiders had not responded to calls from him and his manager David Riolo.
Instead, the Raiders have honoured the deal by continuing to pay Morgan weekly.
Morgan, who played with the Raiders in 2000, quit as head coach of Hull Kingston Rovers in the English Super League to take up a role as an assistant coach at the Raiders last year.
Two weeks after last season's grand final, Morgan was told by coach David Furner he wouldn't be required this year.
''I'm not sure where this is going to head. I want to stay involved in the game, I want to keep coaching ideally, but if Canberra stand in my way, so be it,'' Morgan said.
''If it means I've got to sit the season out, I'll sit it out.
''I moved from the other side of the world under the assumption I was going to have a job for two years and those goalposts have moved. I'm not angry about that, I understand that's the way things work. But at the same time I'm slightly frustrated that there's not a great deal of closure on the issue.
''With the very late notice for me, it's very hard to find a coaching position. I want to definitely stay in the game, but … unless we can come to some resolution it looks like I'll be sitting the season out.''
General manager of the Raiders group Simon Hawkins is in charge of negotiations and said on Friday he had contacted Riolo to try to reach an agreement.
''We'll obviously have to work out a way to separate,'' Hawkins said.
''He was contracted for this year and obviously we've still been honouring that, but obviously if he's picked up a job in the NRL he can't also be on our payroll.''
Hawkins said the club was not trying to block Morgan's career and had recommended him for several coaching jobs.
''We're very pleased that he has got another job, it's good for him to still be working in the industry,'' Hawkins said.
Referees' boss Daniel Anderson is seeking to bolster the video ranks and have two officials in the box at every game to try to limit errors.
Former players Luke Patten and Matt Rodwell were also earmarked for roles.
''When Daniel spoke to me about it, I was initially very excited about it,'' Morgan said.
''Ultimately I want to coach, but at the same time I want to be involved in the game. I'm sure this will add to my skill set of wanting to be a coach.''