Former Raiders coach Andrew Dunemann. Photo: Mark Nolan
The Raiders sacked assistant coach Andrew Dunemann on Friday, but new head coach Ricky Stuart plans to meet Canberra staff on Monday to allay fears he will be forcing people from the organisation.
Stuart confirmed that assistant Dean Pay would leave Parramatta to join him in Canberra next season, while Stuart also plans to try and lure NSW Origin assistant Matt Parish from the Eels.
But Stuart said he was surprised by Dunemann's immediate departure and also had ''no dramas'' working with Brett Kimmorley as his assistant, despite a fallout with the former NSW Origin halfback dating back to 2005.
New Raiders coach Ricky Stuart. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
In another day of drama at the Raiders, Canberra chief executive Don Furner negotiated an immediate payout for Dunemann after the relationship between he and the club became untenable.
Despite having strong support of the players, Dunemann was shattered to be overlooked for the Raiders coaching job. He was also disappointed to learn from media that the club had appointed Stuart ahead of him.
It's understood the Raiders board was split on Stuart and Dunemann, but took the recommendation from Furner to appoint the more experienced Stuart.
Stuart will arrive in Canberra on Sunday to begin examining the club's football structure, before addressing Raiders staff on Monday.
Players will also be invited to meet the coach, but some have already departed Canberra for off-season holidays.
''I'm not coming down to reinvent the wheel,'' Stuart said.
''I'll add a few people but from my point of view there's nobody there that I'll be forcing out of the organisation. I don't want anyone scared about losing their job, I feel like the operation seems to be going really well, it's just a matter of adding a few people towards the football department.''
Both Stuart and Kimmorley stated their intentions to work together at the Raiders next season despite a fractured history.
Stuart axed Kimmorley from the NSW Origin team after throwing a match-losing intercept pass in game one of the 2005 series.
The two were then involved in a feud when Stuart cut Kimmorley as a player when he was coach of the Cronulla Sharks in 2008.
At the time, Stuart wrote in a newspaper column: ''We tried our best to work together, but it didn't work''.
Kimmorley said he planned to stay at the Raiders in 2014.
''I'm looking forward to fulfilling the two years I signed for,'' said Kimmorley.
''I'm not going to go into any relationship with Ricky and myself.
''Step one has been appointing a coach, step two will be the structure of the football club.''
Stuart said: ''I'm really happy for Noddy [Kimmorley] to stay on with a position in the coaching team.
''It's fractured when you're coaching somebody and you've got to make a decision to move someone on, it's always difficult. But it was a lot bigger issue in the media than it was with me and Noddy personally. I've got no dramas working with Brett at all.''
Stuart claimed to be surprised that Dunemann, who took the reins of the Raiders for the final three games of the season after David Furner was sacked, had left so suddenly.
''I just hope he can move on to something he's comfortable with.''
Dunemann, a father of two, had withdrawn from the race for the North Queensland coaching role and has no immediate job prospects.
In a statement released by the Raiders, Dunemann said he was working with his manager, Jim Banaghan, to find a new job.
"I'm working with Jimmy to find a position at another club and hope to continue my coaching career at NRL level," he said.
"I would not have any hesitation to return to the Raiders one day if given the opportunity."
Raiders legend Mal Meninga, who was on the four-man subcommittee to find a short-list of candidates, revealed Stuart, Henry, Tim Sheens, Dunemann and England coach Tony Smith were the final list of contenders presented to the board.
Meninga had said earlier on Friday that he'd hoped Dunemann would continue at the Raiders.
''In my discussion with players he's well liked and highly respected,'' Meninga said.
''I've had a couple of talks with him, he knows the game really well, the players really well and I think he'd be an asset to Ricky and his staff.''