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Unity, pizza and home truths inspired Raiders

Date

Chris Wilson

Consistency was the crucial element the team lacked, writes CHRIS WILSON

Coach David Furner makes a point at Raiders training this year.

Coach David Furner makes a point at Raiders training this year. Photo: Colleen Petch

RAIDERS coach David Furner says he's not a quitter and would never willingly stand down from his role at the club, despite admitting 2012 was the most frustrating of his NRL career.

Furner also denied he and his coaching staff had received a directive from the Raiders board to deliver results early next season or risk being replaced at the end of 2013.

Proud of how his side finished the season, Furner has opened up about the frustration of trying to establish consistency at the Raiders.

In second-last place at the midpoint of the NRL season and following a 40-0 loss to the Wests Tigers, there was speculation that Furner would stand down or be sacked.

The Raiders eventually clicked in the second half of the season to progress to the second week of the NRL finals, but Furner - contracted until the end of 2014 - said he had never contemplated quitting.

''That's never going to be my decision,'' Furner said. ''I'm all for the club. We all are, from the board, to the players, to the marketing staff. we all want one thing, and that's success.

''If I stood down it would have felt like quitting to me. I kept saying it and I believed it. I was never clearer what this side was capable of - to get to the semi-finals.''

Mid-season speculation linked Furner's former teammate, Ricky Stuart, to the post. Furner admitted he'd sought assurance from Raiders chairman John McIntyre, but he understood why there was speculation.

''[McIntyre] always said that I had his support, but I knew they [the board] needed results and I needed to get this team to the semi-finals. They're doing their job and I needed to do mine.

''With this job, if there are inconsistencies in wins and losses, there's always going to be speculation - that's the nature of the business.

''The board has shown support, but the board wants results, as everyone does, as I do. We're all committed to one result … we're all on one mission.''

Campo and the halves

FURNER admits that Raiders captain and play-maker Terry Campese is unlikely to be fit for Canberra's trial matches next season and is racing to be ready for the start of the season.

Campese has had follow-up surgery on his reconstructed knee and only returned to running this week.

Furner said the performance of young halfback Sam Williams in the finals had convinced him that there was no need to rush Campese's comeback. He said Campese would remain as a first-choice half when fit, while he has ruled out shifting Josh McCrone to hooker, a position he played for NSW Country. It will create competition in the halves.

''It's not only about Campo getting his confidence back, but also playing the footy we know he can,'' Furner said. ''It's a position where we're going to have competition. I thought young Sam Williams, his two semi-finals games were very good, and Josh McCrone had a really consistent season. It's a good position to be in.''

Personnel

HAVING retained assistant coach Justin Morgan despite approaches from the New Zealand Warriors, Furner intends to bolster his support staff for 2013.

He has interviewed for a new strength and conditioning coach, whom he expects to appoint this week.

Furner also wants to appoint a sports-science guru and high-performance manager, which may be combined into one full-time role.

''It's just making sure that individually the players can be managed: their total recovery, the right foods, there's elements I think we can use as a team … it's about being at the forefront.''

The Raiders expect to announce soon the re-signing of veteran utility Shaun Berrigan and winger Sandor Earl.

The Raiders have also recruited backrowers Joel Edwards from Newcastle and Jake Foster from the Bulldogs, but Furner hasn't ruled out more additions when the NRL's salary cap figure is finalised.

The Raiders will be restricted, however, given upgrades to exciting rookies such as Jack Wighton and Edrick Lee.

The reward

WRITTEN OFF at the halfway point of the season, the Raiders won nine of their final 12 games to charge into sixth spot.

Watching his team win a home semi-final against the Sharks was the highlight of Furner's year, but he said he got no extra satisfaction from proving his doubters wrong.

''It's collective … we all needed that reward,'' Furner said. ''The satisfaction for me was seeing the players play that type of footy in front of their home crowd. They needed that as much as me.

''I said to the players after [the season], I'm very proud of what we eventually achieved but we can't be comfortable with that.''

He said it had been a frustrating search for consistency, but the team now finally believed in their capabilities.

''I think I was more frustrated because I just believed this group was capable of making the semi-finals. We just had to work through some adversity. If I was to sum up the season, it's that consistency week in and week out that we need to work on as a group.

''It was a concern because you could be brilliant one week then there'd be a blowout the next.''

Turning points

CANBERRA'S season was full of potential turning points that saw them eventually get the formula right.

Stars Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson were stood down in round 12 for breaching the club's alcohol policy before training, sending a message that everyone was accountable to the team.

But the biggest shift came after the 40-0 loss to the Tigers at home in round 13, the Raiders booed from the field by their fans. Furner took the team away into camp for a week, before their next match against Newcastle.

''I remember holding the door open and the players coming in. They were shattered,'' Furner said of the loss to the Tigers. ''There was some abuse [from fans] hurled at the players that didn't need it.

''When I drove home from the stadium I rang management and said I want to take the players away because I knew I couldn't build any confidence back into the side because everyone you bumped into would be asking, 'what happened?'

''I called a meeting on the Sunday and I think the players must have thought I was going to rip shreds off them, but I actually bought some pizzas and we just talked about the game.

''That [camp] started to build belief in the side … we felt more like a team.''

The Raiders also adopted the tactic for home games, turning around their horrible form at Canberra Stadium by going into camp on the eve of matches.

The Raiders won their last five home games after staying at Rydges Eaglehawk, but Furner hasn't determined if it will continue.

''We'll make a collective call on what's best for the team, but I think we can go past that.''

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Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
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GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
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NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
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Round 13
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BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
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CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
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NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
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GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
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SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
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MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
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BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
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NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
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PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
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GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
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NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
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MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
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WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
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Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI ($1.77)vs MEL ($2.10) 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.35)vs SOU ($3.30) 19:45AS
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PEN ($1.96)vs NEW ($1.88) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.70)vs WST ($2.20) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.22)vs GCT ($4.40) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.60)vs CBR ($2.40) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.53)vs MAN ($2.55) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.06)vs NZW ($10.00) 18:30ANZ
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Brisbane Broncos 23 17 6 0 38
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Melbourne Storm 23 13 10 0 30
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