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Raiders stars call for hardline coach

Senior Canberra players David Shillington and Josh McCrone have called on the club to appoint a head coach who will stamp out the off-field misbehaviour that derailed their 2013 NRL campaign, while throwing their support behind interim coach Andrew Dunemann.
Raiders stars call for hardline coach
by AAP

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, Sept 3 AAP - Senior Canberra players David Shillington and Josh McCrone have called on the club to appoint a head coach who will stamp out the off-field misbehaviour that derailed their 2013 NRL campaign, while throwing their support behind interim coach Andrew Dunemann.

Following the Raiders' fifth straight loss on the weekend, Shillington didn't shy away from stating the actions of sacked fullback Josh Dugan and AWOL centre Blake Ferguson had created unwelcome distractions throughout the year.

His comments come the same day Ferguson had his lawyer make an appearance on his behalf in a Sydney court over a charge of indecent assault stemming from an incident in a Cronulla bar in June.

Following Dunemann's tough new stance on Ferguson, Shillington confirmed the former Raiders assistant coach had emerged as one of the players' favourites to lead the side in 2014.

However he said whoever the club chose would need to continue to crack down on ill discipline.

"If the coach can handle the off-field stuff and get us performing at our peak, I think we'll be a team to beat," Shillington said.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen with Blake, but he seems headed for the same destiny (as Dugan)."

"Sooner rather than later, it sends a message to the playing group that you can't do whatever you want and get away with it."

McCrone echoed Shillington's comments on stamping out player misbehaviour.

"You try your best to think about football but I think it's pretty plain and clear that it did become an issue," McCrone said.

McCrone said Dunemann shouldn't be judged on the two losses the Raiders had suffered since he took over last month from sacked coach David Furner.

"We had bigger issues that needed fixing that he couldn't fix in three weeks," McCrone said.

In a further nod to Dunemann, Shillington said Sydney Roosters head coach Trent Robinson and South Sydney's Michael Maguire were proof the club didn't need to bring in a veteran mentor.

"The players are really keen on someone like Andrew Dunemann," Shillington said.

"He's a great communicator and he's already got a fantastic relationship with the players."

A four man sub-committee - including CEO Don Furner, Raiders legend Mal Meninga and board members David Thom and Allan Hawke - will select the new coach.

Up to 16 possible candidates are being linked to the role, including Dunemann, sacked North Queensland coach Neil Henry, Parramatta's Ricky Stuart and Melbourne assistant Kevin Walters.

Meanwhile, Dunemann has started looking to the future by giving Raiders NYC halfback Mitch Cornish his NRL debut this Sunday against Cronulla.

Cornish has been named to start in a reshuffled Raiders side following a shoulder injury to Glen Buttriss.




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