Former AIS director Dr Peter Fricker will review the Canberra Raiders' set up. Photo: Andrew Sheargold
He's helped some of Australia's best athletes to Olympic gold, but Dr Peter Fricker believes the Canberra Raiders' football operations don't require a radical overhaul to bounce back from the most tumultuous season in its history.
On the same day sacked coach David Furner began his assistant role at North Queensland, the Raiders announced the sports physician will review their high performance and medical departments as the Ricky Stuart era begins.
The club has appointed Fricker in an attempt to gain every slight edge possible as they prepare for life without dumped stars Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson. Fricker was the longest-serving director in the Australian Institute of Sport's history before taking up a position in Qatar in 2011.
He was Australia's medical director at the 2004 Athens Games, and deputy director for the four previous Olympics.
Fricker toured the club's facilities on Monday, and insisted only minor tweaks are needed for Canberra to rebound from this year's disappointing 13th place finish.
Leading Australian Sports Commission official John Waser oversaw a sweeping review of the Raiders after a disastrous 2011 season where they won just six games.
That review covered all facets including culture, but Fricker will look solely at ways to improve aspects like strength and conditioning, recovery and sports science.
The Raiders are the first NRL club to engage Fricker, who has worked with a number of AFL and rugby union teams in the past.
''They've asked me to take a fresh look at the club, how the science and medicine service providers are dealing with the players and trying to take it to the next level,'' Fricker said.
''There's a passionate staff here very keen to get better performances out of the players, and I think there's a few opportunities we can look at. There's great facilities and staff here and it makes my job a bit easier because you're already working from a high base.
''We're looking for that one per cent, I think we can get it.''
Fricker said determining whether the club requires more staff in areas like physiotherapy will also be examined.
''Those questions have to be asked and I haven't got that far yet,'' he said.
''All clubs have budgets to manage, there's not an indefinitely deep bucket unfortunately.
''I'm not a miracle worker, but I do think there's opportunities to see where little differences can be made. Ricky has come in as the new coach, new staff has come on board and they see it as a chance for a fresh start.''
The Raiders have made it a focus to take advantage of the AIS facilities more often, given they train just a stone's throw away.
''We under-utilise that facility, Dr Fricker has a long association there and that's why we've engaged him,'' football manager John Bonasera said.
''We've made a number of changes to the training facilities so the players aren't coming back to the same-old, same-old.
''There's always an annual review win, lose or draw, and the Canberra community demands their sports teams are performing at a high level.''