Former Canberra Raiders coach David Furner says he's been revived by a successful season at the North Queensland Cowboys and wants to be a head coach in the NRL again, but he has turned down invitations to apply for any of this year's vacancies.
Seven NRL clubs have changed head coaches since the Raiders sacked Furner in August last year, although Mick Potter's job at the Wests Tigers is the only role yet to be filled for 2015.
A spirited Furner said he'd moved on from his own dismissal, his only lingering disappointment that he was unable to finish the 2013 season in Canberra when the Raiders were still in finals contention.
But going into Friday night's semi-final against defending premiers the Sydney Roosters, Furner said he'd put any personal ambition to be an NRL head coach on the backburner as a commitment to the Cowboys and his family.
"There has been some inquiries to see if I'd be interested in applying [for jobs], but I've said no," said Furner, who has been an assistant to rookie NRL head coach Paul Green this year. "I've made that commitment to the Cowboys and, more importantly, to my family.
"Unfortunately it's the nature of the beast, the nature of the job, that there'll be more jobs coming up. But at this time, it's still about working on my personal development as a coach.
"I've signed a two-year deal up here at the Cowboys and I want to fulfil it. I want to make sure the next opportunity I get is the right one for me and the family."
Furner said his family deserved some stability after they relocated to Townsville this year, especially wife Kellie, who fought a private battle with breast cancer during 2012.
Furner played 200 games for the Raiders and coached the club for five seasons, from 2009-13. Furner said he held no grudges against the Raiders and wanted the club to be successful again, and was "happy" to watch Canberra win its final three matches with a youthful squad.
But Furner admitted his one disappointment was not being able to finish last season, stood down for the final three games when the Raiders were equal on points with eighth-placed Gold Coast Titans.
"I would have liked to finish my year there to see if we made the semi-finals and that would have been three [finals appearances] from five [years]. Unfortunately it didn't end up that way," Furner said.
"Without rehashing things, I've moved on, the family's moved on, I've still got a lot of ties at the club. I've been proud to play and coach at Canberra, but that's the thing that hangs about.
"I loved my five years coaching there. Don't get me wrong, there were tough times. But if any coach says they don't do it tough at times, they're not telling the truth. I had a couple of years there where it probably took a fair bit out of me, with family, but I never lost focus ... things happen for a reason and it's about moving on and taking on your next challenge."
Furner will again be an assistant to Australian coach Tim Sheens for this year's Four Nations tournament and said last year's World Cup victory with the Kangaroos - soon after his Raiders sacking - reminded him why he wanted to coach.
"What really got me back in the seat was the World Cup ... to have the success we did, it revived me. It's what coaching's all about. It's the closest thing to playing: the adrenalin, the nerves. I'd find it hard if I wasn't involved in footy. There's not a job like it.
"I love it. I've still got a passion for it. I enjoy football, I think I've got a good knowledge. I'd love to [be a head coach again], but I'm happy with the role I'm in at the moment, I've really enjoyed this year."