Rugby League


Furner has Red Devil of a plan to pick up tips from Sir Alex

HE PLAYED his last game at Old Trafford for Leeds, and now Canberra Raiders coach David Furner is hopeful of returning there to pick the brain of one of sport's all-time great coaches.

Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy sat down with Manchester United's Alex Ferguson this week, and Furner wants to follow suit when he heads to England with the Kangaroos for the World Cup in November.

A huge fan of Ferguson, Furner organised a meeting with the legendary Scotsman during Australia's Four Nations Tour last year. Unfortunately the Red Devils' horror 6-1 Premier League loss to rival Manchester City a few days before scuppered Furner's plans.

But he remains optimistic of finally getting the chance to pick Ferguson's brain later this year, should he continue his role as an assistant under Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens.

''I'm hoping at the end of the year if I get the opportunity to go with the Kangaroos again I'd be able to follow it up,'' Furner said.

''I had Sir Alex lined up until they were walloped by Manchester City - that put a big dint in that, which was no good.


''I've met him before as a player [when playing for Australia], but it would have been nice to have a sit-down with him as a coach.''

Furner has long admired Ferguson's endurance and ability to manage the pressure of being at the helm of one of the world's most iconic sports clubs.

''He sticks to his beliefs and philosophies, and he's also been able to adapt to the game and the players,'' Furner said.

''He has a lot of different cultures and nationalities under his control, players on a lot of money, and being able to handle that.

''The testament of him is his survival, I know a bit about him through his books and it would be great to have a good chat.'' A close friend of Queanbeyan's formula one ace Mark Webber, Furner and his family also visited Red Bull's factory near London last year.

''I wanted to see the attention to detail, just basically how they run it and how everything is timed to the second,'' Furner said.

''I got some good info on how everything has to be right on, which can be transferred back to football.''

The Sunday Canberra Times understands Furner is investigating more fact-finding missions with other football codes.