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Raiders rule out Stuart for coaching role

Club great Ricky Stuart has been ruled out of the race to become Canberra's next head coach, as former mentor Neil Henry headlines a shortlist of nine names to replace David Furner.
Raiders rule out Stuart for coaching role
by AAP

By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, Aug 31 AAP - Club great Ricky Stuart has been ruled out of the race to become Canberra's next head coach, as former mentor Neil Henry headlines a shortlist of nine names to replace David Furner.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner will next week sit down with club champion and Queensland coach Mal Meninga as well as directors David Thom and Dr Allan Hawke to run the rule over their coaching candidates.

Furner said the amount of interest in the Raiders position has been "amazing", with a list of 16 applicants quickly drawn up, eight or nine of whom would be given "serious consideration".

One name that won't be discussed is Stuart, who played 203 first grade games for the Raiders in the 1980s and 1990s and won premierships in 1989, 1990 and 1994.

The Parramatta coach was strongly linked to the Raiders once the position became vacant a fortnight ago, with reports he'd been offered a seven-year deal worth $7 million.

But Don Furner said there had been no approach made.

"Look, his name is always linked with us. Every year," Furner told ABC Radio on Saturday.

"I understand that link, but no (he's not on the list of 16 candidates)."

Henry, who coached the Raiders in 2007-08, will not be retained by North Queensland after this season and is on the lookout for a new role, with Furner confirming he was in the frame to make a return to the Raiders - despite walking out on the final two years of his contract to link up with the Cowboys.

"The mere fact that he took up another option at the time would not be held against him by the club," Furner said.

"It's a tough gig, professional coaching. They've got to look out for themselves.

"We've had other coaches leave as well. There's no barrier to him coming back."

After this week's meeting with Meninga, Furner said a decision could take as little as one week - but stressed the club would take their time in finding the right candidate.

"It could take a week, it could take three weeks. We're not rushing anything," he said.

Meanwhile, Furner said he was aiming to meet with troubled star Blake Ferguson this week with a view to the NSW Origin representative facing the board later this week.

The want-away centre has a get out clause in his contract, following the sacking of David Furner this month, which can be activated on November 1 and has been strongly linked to Sydney clubs, including his former outfit Cronulla.

But his off-field issues could hasten any exit, with the Raiders understood to be furious at his actions in the past week where he has been uncontactable while in Sydney and refusing to turn up to training.

"It's been tough for me to comment (on Ferguson) because I haven't spoken to him face-to-face and I'd prefer to talk to him face-to-face and I just haven't had that chance," Furner added.

"Hopefully the middle of next week I will have that chance to see where he's at and then call the board meeting for later in that week."


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