Mal Meninga thinks of the man who lured him to Canberra and the first thing that springs to mind is the smile on Don Furner snr's face.
"Nothing would rattle him too much," Meninga said.
"He was always approachable and always concerned about not only your performance, but how your family was going.
"It was a good family atmosphere he created. The first moment I walked into the club, even before I signed on, it felt good. Don was central to that."
Furner snr is being remembered as a brilliant rugby league mind after losing a long battle with illness on Monday. He was 88 years old.
"He died peacefully and was well cared for by the staff at Mirinjani," the Furner family said in a statement.
"The family is thankful for all the support and lovely messages, he was always happy and had a smile on his face, and will be remembered that way."
His impact on the game is indelible. Furner snr was Canberra's inaugural coach from 1982-87.
He convinced Meninga to join Canberra and told a young Ricky Stuart to pursue a chance to play rugby union for Australia before joining the Raiders.
Without Furner snr laying the foundations in those early days, "the Raiders wouldn't be here doing what they're doing today".
Perhaps nor would Meninga be where he is if not for that first meeting.
"I went to Canberra with Gary Belcher and a few of the other Queenslanders, and the sell was excellent," Meninga said.
"He was instrumental in getting me there and to be honest with you, why I'm still there.
"At the end of the day I had other offers to come to Sydney. Knowing Don and where he sits in the game, he was the Aussie coach at the time, I felt the team was starting to play really well.
"They were starting to make some good inroads, and he sold it that way. When we went down to Canberra, we quite liked what we saw.
"We liked the way they approached it all and it was still a country lifestyle."
Furner snr had devoted countless hours to building the Raiders into a force - something which seemed a long way away when a bunch of misfits charged out of the Redfern Oval change rooms in February of 1982 for their first game.
It wasn't the February heat which was causing inaugural Raider Peter McGrath any problems pre-game. It was the nerves.
But then he caught the eye of Furner snr. Suddenly the task of tackling South Sydney didn't seem so daunting.
"He was really good one on one. He'd just have a chat to you, and that's where he could really coach," McGrath said.
"That's where he was fantastic in my view, that's where I learnt lots from him. Sometimes we were just having a cup of tea or sitting around reading the paper, and he'd start talking."
Furner snr played for Queensland and was a Kangaroos tourist in 1956-57 before starting a successful coaching career.
He would soon join Les McIntyre to transform the Raiders into a competition powerhouse. But things didn't seem so rosy in the early days.
The competition's new kids on the block had been dubbed a band of Sydney rejects whose only chance at a victory would come on a freezing winter day at Seiffert Oval.
"I always say about Donny, in that first year his strength was he never stopped us being positive about the way we played," McGrath said.
"We were getting thumped, week in, week out. He continued to tell us to play an open, attractive style of rugby league.
"That took a lot of guts, because it would have been easy for a coach to say 'I'm going to pick a whole team full of guys who can tackle, and we're just going to try to get through'.
"He had vision about what he wanted the club to be. It set the foundations the club grew into."
Furner snr was a father figure for many of the Raiders' players, including current coach and dual international Stuart.
Stuart was family friends with the Furners and spoke to Furner snr when he was about to leave St Edmund's College in the 1980s.
If it hadn't been for Furner snr's input, Stuart might never have played rugby union for Australia.
"I remember being offered a contract here with John McIntyre and Don, then sitting down to discuss it further," Stuart said.
"He told me to go back to school, to repeat year 12, to try to achieve the most I possibly could out of rugby union and then come back to talk to us.
"He said we'll be the first to talk to you. That was the handshake deal I had.
"It wasn't about the Raiders, it was about the person. I still cherish that. It was the greatest piece of advice as a young boy you could get."