Canberra Raiders assistant coach Brett Kimmorley. Photo: Jay Cronan
Former Canberra skipper Alan Tongue hopes the Raiders have finally achieved coaching solidarity after endorsing new assistant Brett Kimmorley as the ''perfect fit''.
Kimmorley's appointment, plus the promotion of Toyota Cup coach Andrew Dunemann, means five assistants will have worked under head coach David Furner in three years.
Quentin Pongia was paid out the final year of his two-year deal after being he was told his services were no longer required at the end of the 2010 season.
Justin Morgan was also recently sacked midway through a two-year contract believed to be worth about $120,000 a season. He is negotiating a severance package with the Raiders.
After three years as a Canberra assistant, Andrew McFadden will begin his new role at the Warriors next year after receiving an offer too good to refuse.
Tongue declared stability in the coach's office will help the Raiders find on-field consistency, and build on their superb finish to last season.
He has full faith that Furner, Kimmorley and Dunemann can forge a successful partnership, and hopefully for the long term.
''I think that continuity is definitely important, it's important on the playing field but also in the coach's office as well,'' he said on Tuesday.
''It's a merry-go-round, isn't it, the coaching thing? Your job is never safe and you don't know what's going to come up in terms of opportunities.
''A lot of coaches see paths at different clubs, and see them as a quicker way to get into the NRL.
''You have to understand all of them want to be head coaches, or the majority of them do, so they look at the clubs which are going to help them get there.
''But it would be nice to keep them together because they're quality people and quality coaches, so fingers crossed.''
Tongue said premiership-winning halfback Kimmorley had arrived at the perfect time, with Canberra's enviable array of young playmaking talent at a critical development stage.
Kimmorley has long harboured a high opinion of halfback Sam Williams, while Jack Wighton, Mitch Cornish and Anthony Milford are among the best young prospects in the game.
''He's a great communicator as you see with his media, he'll be fantastic with the young halves in the club, it's just a perfect fit,'' Tongue said. ''You look around at the other clubs and they all want what we've got basically, in regards to our young halves.''
An expert commentator with ABC Radio, Tongue said Kimmorley's similar role with Fox Sports in recent years would have helped nurture his coaching skills.
''Basically a commentator is just a coach who talks to the public, we often go through videos and look at how teams play, the direction they're heading and why they play teams in different fashions. You're doing exactly what a coach is doing.''
Canberra has traditionally employed a former forward and back on its assistant coaching staff, but Tongue views the fact Dunemann and Kimmorley were both halfbacks as a positive.
''You have to embrace conflict in coaching staff. I know a lot of people probably go against it, but at the end of the day you don't need yes men, you need people that are going to challenge you, and talk about how to get better,'' Tongue said. ''Especially with Dunemann and Brett Kimmorley, they're great footballing brains.''
Furner has already confirmed he will take on more defensive duties, but hasn't settled on what specific areas Kimmorley and Dunemann will be responsible for.
''I haven't pigeonholed yet, I already know what 'Duners' can do I'm just looking at Brett,'' Furner said.
''I won't be finalising that until we get back [after the Christmas break].
''We're all chipping in with different areas, that gives me a really good gauge on who's the strongest at who and then divvy up the roles.''