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Raiders players wanted Dunemann as coach

David Shillington has revealed senior Canberra players wanted Andrew Dunemann to be given the Raiders coaching job and warned Ricky Stuart he has a huge job on his hands to change the off-field culture at the NRL club.
Raiders players wanted Dunemann as coach
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, Sept 20 AAP - David Shillington has revealed senior Canberra players wanted Andrew Dunemann to be given the Raiders coaching job and warned Ricky Stuart he has a huge job on his hands to change the off-field culture at the NRL club.

Shillington said Mal Meninga, who formed part of a sub-committee to find a new coach, consulted the senior playing group who told him highly-rated under-20s coach Dunemann should replace David Furner.

However, the board voted in favour of bringing Raiders great Stuart back to the club with Dunemann leaving last week.

"Mal rang a few of us and asked us he would thought should be coach and we were pushing for Andrew Dunemann because of his relationship with our young talent," Shillington said.

"But Ricky will be just what the doctor ordered in far as getting the team together ... sort out the off-field stuff and ensure players are pulled into line ... as the care factor has been down."

Shillington was given his NRL debut by Stuart in 2005 when he was at the Sydney Roosters and it's been rumoured the pair didn't see eye to eye.

But the Test prop denied there were issues with his new boss and said he's the right man to rebuild spirit at the club.

"People have said we've had a falling out but there's nothing to square off or worry about," he said.

"One thing I do know he's good at is bringing the boys together and bonding in a team environment.

"That's what's needed at the moment. It's a real big job for Ricky I am not sure he knows how much work he has to do."

Shillington said Stuart's first task must is to bring some of the club's young stars into line - something Furner failed to do with Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson, who have since been sacked.

"If a bloke mucks up and you don't drop him from the team because you are worried they may leave the club or you're worried you won't win the game that's when you create the devil in players," he said.

"That's what you saw at our club this year with a couple of players.

"It's a delicate situation with younger players coming through. There's increased media exposure they are full-on superstars.

"That empowers them to think they are bigger than the team. That's a really bad thing.

"You look at the really good clubs, the Roosters, Souths and Melbourne ... if you stuff up off the field you get dropped.

"Clubs who perform well have a strong group of senior players and a coach who can handle situations."

The introduction of the Holden Cup under-20s competition in 2008 changed the pathway into the NRL and with every game televised young players have a high profile before they have even played first grade.

Shillington said the competition isn't entirely to blame for over-inflating youngster's egos, but it's a contributing factor.

"It's just the amount of exposure players get generally these days.

"You don't have reserve grade where there's a lot of old players hanging around (to keep everyone in line)."




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