Date: May 06 2012
CANBERRA chairman John McIntyre has denied next Sunday's match between the Raiders and last-placed Parramatta will be coach David Furner's final chance to save his job.
Speculation in Canberra was that Furner had today's game against premiers Manly, and the round-10 match against the besieged Stephen Kearney's Eels, to perform or perish. However, McIntyre rejected the claim when The Sun-Herald contacted him yesterday.
McIntyre said he fully supported Furner, a club great who played 200 games for the Raiders and is contracted to coach there until the end of next season.
''I don't know where that has come from, it's a load of rubbish,'' he said. ''I have no idea why [the rumour is out there] but it is one of these things that won't go away.
''However, it's falling on deaf ears because one of the things about being in isolation [as a one-team city] is there's a fortress around us … but that's not to say we don't cop those sort of suggestions from within our own region, which all I can say is disappointing.''
Last year Canberra had a review into their operations after they narrowly avoided the wooden spoon by a points differential and McIntyre stood by his, and, indeed, the board's belief, that Furner was the right man to steer the club out of the mire.
''I don't want to keep on saying that I have a record of never having sacked a coach, but I do pride myself in that I head an organisation that constantly makes the right decision and I'm very confident we made the right decision a couple of years ago [when we signed Furner],'' he said. ''I have said it before, he doesn't drop the ball, he doesn't run up out of the line, he doesn't adopt wrong options on the final tackle, and that's some of the problems a coach has when he has a young team.''
Furner's potential to be a top coach was supported by the likes of Newcastle's Wayne Bennett, who McIntyre said endorsed the Raiders' decision to appoint Furner in 2009, while Wests Tigers mentor Tim Sheens recruited him as his assistant for the Kangaroos.
McIntyre said while Furner was in the unenviable position of losing star playmaker Terry Campese and enforcer Brett White - both internationals - to season-ending knee injuries, he had shown strength to not use their injuries as an excuse for the club being in 13th place.
''He doesn't use the excuse of losing two of his best players, which means at least 20 per cent of our $4.2 million salary cap is sitting on the sideline for the rest of the season, and because of the salary cap you don't have quality replacements available to take their place. It means you bring young fellows on and you keep your fingers crossed they haven't been brought up too soon.''
The Furner rumours had brought the team closer together. ''One of the things we firmly believe in, and it is something right throughout the club, is something very positive can come out of adversity,'' McIntyre said.
The Sun-Herald tried to contact Furner for comment yesterday but he did not respond.
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