New Raiders assistant coach Brett Kimmorley, right, keeps a close eye on Matt McIlwrick. Photo: Jay Cronan
Brett Kimmorley left the Canterbury Bulldogs to begin a ''new chapter'' in his coaching career and believes he can help instil the steely attitude the Canberra Raiders need to end their inconsistent finals appearances.
Kimmorley wasted no time joining the Raiders, fronting for his first training session on Monday morning just days after signing a two-year deal to be David Furner's assistant.
The former premiership-winning halfback was part of Des Hasler's coaching team at the Bulldogs last season and helped the team into the NRL grand final. But the chance to take on more responsibility convinced Kimmorley it was time to move to the capital and try something new.
''I'm very excited, it's a new chapter and a good challenge for me,'' Kimmorley said.
''The club [Canberra] is in a very good position at the moment … to be given the opportunity to be one of the assistant coaches is a great career move for myself.
''I was considered more of a specialist [halves] coach at Canterbury. ''I feel like I've done a good apprenticeship, played for a number of years and last year taught me a lot working with Des for 12 months.
''It's an interesting part of my own journey to develop … I hope it's going to be a wonderful career move.''
Kimmorley will be with the Raiders full-time for the next two seasons.
However, his family will remain in Sydney and he will be able to fulfil some of his duties at Fox Sports when the Raiders' training and playing schedule allows.
Kimmorley played more than 300 games in the NRL and helped guide the Melbourne Storm to a premiership in 1999.
He represented Australia 20 times and NSW in 10 State of Origins.
His arrival in Canberra provides a big boost to the Green Machine, which has undergone a backroom overhaul despite finishing sixth on the ladder.
Furner has employed two new assistants - Kimmorley and former under-20s mentor Andrew Dunemann - to replace Andrew McFadden and Justin Morgan.
McFadden has joined the New Zealand Warriors, while Morgan was told he was not longer required in Canberra.
Furner has a new strength and conditioning coach and is still searching to add a sports scientist to his staff.
After a woeful start to their 2012 campaign, the Raiders fired in the second half of the season to earn a home semi-final before losing to South Sydney.
But the Raiders have not been able to make the finals in consecutive seasons for almost a decade.
To break the pattern, Kimmorley said the coaches needed to be strict to ensure there was an improved attitude.
''I think attitude is a big part of it and from the first training session I've seen, the players are certainly very accountable and all you can ask is they put the hard work in now,'' Kimmorley said.
''In the end it's up to the players how much they buy into their own pride and some of the excitement they would have got from the end of last season.''
Raiders captain David Shillington fronted for his first training session on Monday and hoped Kimmorley's arrival would trigger ''fresh ideas''.
''Defensively we were one of the worst teams in the comp last season,'' Shillington said.
''We had a sort of respectable finish at sixth [on the ladder], but if we fix up our defence hopefully we'll be a lot better.''