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Teammates prepare to mourn both Ferguson and 'Dorguson'

Blake Ferguson ...  has he played his last game in Raiders' colours?

Blake Ferguson ... has he played his last game in Raiders' colours? Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberra Raiders players are resigned to never again playing with wayward star Blake Ferguson and Josh McCrone says the representative centre appears to have ''chosen his path'' for the future.

As revealed by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, Ferguson's Raiders career is all but over after being left out of the team to play the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Saturday.

There are just two games left in the regular season and Ferguson is expected to use a get-out clause in his contract at the end of the year to leave Canberra and return to Sydney.

'Ferguson has chosen his path': Josh McCrone.

'Ferguson has chosen his path': Josh McCrone. Photo: Melissa Adams

It's unlikely Ferguson will play for the Raiders again with interim coach Andrew Dunemann taking a tough stance on club culture and deciding not to pick the NSW State of Origin centre.

Dunemann took the coaching reins after David Furner was sacked last week.

McCrone and Josh Papalii have endorsed Dunemann as capable of rebuilding the club in the future.

Canberra Raiders interim coach Andrew Dunemann.

Canberra Raiders interim coach Andrew Dunemann. Photo: Melissa Adams

Ferguson hasn't seen or spoken with his Raiders teammates since his no show at Canberra's loss to Manly last weekend.

The 23-year-old is expected to meet with club chief executive Don Furner on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his future.

McCrone conceded the Raiders could have seen the last of Ferguson.

''He's chosen his path so now I guess he's just got to keep going down that direction,'' McCrone said.

''With his talent, I'd like him to [play for the Raiders next year], but I can't see him playing again this year. I don't know what his future is bringing.

''I suppose it is [frustrating], we've never doubted his talent on the field. It's what's happening off the field that has been really bugging us.

''I don't know about what's happened [last weekend], but it doesn't seem like too much has changed.

''And until we see any changes, I don't think there will be too much of a difference here.''

The Raiders had a light training session on Tuesday. Ferguson did not attend.

''I'm a bit over talking about it ... [Ferguson] hasn't been here today, so you can't pick yourself if you're not training, can you.''

A four-man sub-committee - which includes Raiders great Mal Meninga - is about to start the search for the next Canberra coach.

Dunemann leads the list of candidates with Kevin Walters, Neil Henry and Trent Barrett also believed to be interested in the position.

Former Raiders captain Alan Tongue has backed sacked North Queensland coach Henry to return to the Raiders.

McCrone hoped the sub-committee of Meninga, board members David Thom and Dr Allen Hawke and chief executive Don Furner would consult senior players before making a decision.

''I think it would be a good idea to ask some of the senior players [for input],'' McCrone said.

''But at the end of the day, you can't give them all the power to pick [a new coach]. That's why the sub-committee is there.

''They're the people experienced in these things, but I think it would be silly not to ask the players.''

Queensland State of Origin second-rower Papalii said Dunemann had already impressed the players after just one week in charge.

Appointing Dunemann could also help keep rising star Anthony Milford in Canberra.

Milford is seeking a release on compassionate grounds to return to Queensland to be closer to his family.

''Dunes as a person is pretty good with me and hopefully he sticks around, I definitely know the boys are pretty keen to have him next year,'' Papalii said.

''But that's all faith in the board and the club. I've got no say in that so we'll see what happens. I live in the same house [as Milford] but we haven't talked about [his situation]. I think everyone would love to see him stay, but he has to do the best for him and family. I'll support him what ever he does.''

In other team news, captain Terry Campese will make a comeback from an eye injury in the clash against the Warriors.

His return means McCrone will move to hooker with Milford partnering Campese in the halves.

Joel Thompson is set to play in the centres with winger Sandor Earl ruled out with a hamstring problem.

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs is also ready to make a comeback from injury.

The Raiders need to win their last two games to be any chance of making the NRL finals.

1 comment so far

  • Ferguson hasn't seen or spoken to his teammates because he doesn't have the guts.

    Commenter
    tothepoint
    Date and time
    August 27, 2013, 6:43PM

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