Raiders to adopt Swans' culture for sustained success
The Raiders and Swans coaches discuss tactics. Photo: Jordan Laing
Canberra Raiders coach David Furner wants his team to mirror elements of the Sydney Swans' renowned ''Bloods'' culture after visiting the AFL premiers' headquarters on Monday.
Furner watched the Swans train at the SCG and picked the brain of coach John Longmire about the secrets to the club's sustained success.
Sydney has missed the AFL finals just once in the past 10 years, while the Raiders have been September spectators in every odd year since 2004.
After learning some in-house secrets on the Swans' approach toward recovery, sports medicine, rehabilitation and culture, Furner hopes to develop a long-term relationship with the Swans.
''I spent a good hour with John just talking about consistency, it was an area where we took a lot of interest,'' Furner said.
''Without giving too many secrets away, it's very simplistic the way they go about it.
''They've been very competitive for a long time and taking over from [former coach] Paul Roos, he has known the system there for quite a while and put his own touch to it.''
The Raiders recently unveiled an eight-man leadership group for the 2013 season, and have taken drastic steps to refine their culture after they won just six matches in a forgettable 2011 season.
Furner wants his leaders to emulate the Swans' stalwarts and set a strict example for one of the youngest squads in the NRL.
''The Bloods culture is driven by the senior players; they set a benchmark and a standard, which he talked about when we were watching training,'' Furner said. ''They reward the one per-centers. I talk about the one per-centers, it's what the team relies on to win games and they're areas most people don't put much emphasis on.
''It's about doing your job and those little things that don't get noticed. It's what we preach to our team.''
New strength and conditioning coach Nigel Ashley-Jones and football manager John Bonasera also accompanied Furner on Monday.
Furner said they were encouraged that Sydney's set up and method wasn't markedly different to that established at Raiders HQ.
''Sports medicine and recovery, obviously they measure different areas more than we might but we are pretty close with what we're doing. That's a pleasing thing to come out of it,'' Furner said.
'''The work we've done with Sammy Patterson and our leadership group, we're going along the right lines.
''The things we're implementing and what we uphold as high values [are similar to Sydney's]. They're a team that's won a premiership and been very successful.''
Furner said the fact the NRL has decided to schedule the first 20 weeks of the season for the first time in 2013 is a significant advantage as they look to tweak aspects of their recovery.
''I think it's a big benefit, the players and coaches know and we can plan a lot more in advance with recovery than we used to,'' he said.
''We just looked at the days off, how the Swans structure things after the game and the rehab side of it, what works on longer trips.
''We looked at the Swans because of their success and they travel a lot like we do. There's a lot of similarities, and that's why we looked to establish a relationship there.''