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Coach Furner axed by Canberra

Canberra coach David Furner has been dramatically sacked the NRL club amid reports of player unrest.
Coach Furner axed by Canberra
by AAP

SYDNEY, Aug 20 AAP - Canberra coach David Furner has been dramatically sacked the NRL club amid reports of player unrest.

Furner's five-year tenure came to a sudden end on Tuesday when informed by his brother Don, the club's chief executive, of the board's decision taken at a crisis meeting.

The 42-year-old Furner is the first coach to be sacked in the club's 31-year history and his exit comes with the Raiders in ninth spot and battling to make the top eight for the finals with just three rounds remaining.

Assistant Andrew Dunemann will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Possible candidates for the job next season include national coach Tim Sheens, who guided the Raiders to premierships in 1989, 1990 and 1994, axed North Queensland Neil Henry, ex-South Sydney mentor Jason Taylor and Trent Barrett.

A shattered Furner got the news while at a camp in Batemans Bay with his players where he was endeavouring to rebuild frayed relations.

"It's obviously a results driven game and we have lost our last three games," Furner told News Corp Australia.

"It's still terribly disappointing after all the work I've put in."

The club issued a statement saying the board made the decision believing the team's inconsistent performances were not reflective of the talent in the playing squad.

However it's believed Furner's rapport with the senior players had deteriorated.

News Corp reported matters came to a head after a group of leading players met on Monday night and decided they could no longer work with the coach.

It was the second gathering of players in days.

The first came following Saturday's loss to Canterbury when Furner heard whispers there was dissatisfaction among the playing group.

Furner organised the short stay away in Batemans Bay in a bid to rebuild relations.

He had held the job since the start of the 2009 season and his recent reign has been hampered by off-field problems with star players, notably fullback Josh Dugan who was sacked and headed to St George Illawarra in mid-season this year.

Fellow NSW Origin back Blake Ferguson has also had behavioural issues off the field and is believed to want out of the Raiders.

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