CANBERRA have declared new assistant coach Brett Kimmorley the final piece of their puzzle for next year, and David Furner is confident the premiership-winning halfback can have an immediate impact.
In a major coup for the Raiders, Kimmorley has signed a two-year deal to be Furner’s No.2. The former NSW halfback will front for his first training session at 7.30am on Monday.
And in another boost to the Raiders’ pre-season schedule, club legend Mal Meninga will be in the capital this week to add his input to off-season training.
Kimmorley’s appointment ends Furner’s search for assistants after Andrew McFadden moved to the Warriors and Justin Morgan was told he was no longer required. Following McFadden and Morgan’s departure, Furner refused to rush a decision on replacements.
Kimmorley joins Andrew Dunemann on Furner’s revamped coaching structure.
”I’m pretty excited about it, it’s certainly a pretty big boost for us to get Noddy [Kimmorley],” Furner said. ”I’ve been talking about getting the right person and taking my time to find him … Noddy will complement me and he’ll complement the side and [Dunemann]. He’s got a very good footy head and he’s going to be a great addition to the footy club so I can’t wait until he gets started.”
Furner has also appointed a new strength and conditioning coach – Nigel Ashley-Jones – and is still working to find a sports scientist to help his backroom staff. Furner completed negotiations with Kimmorley last week and the former journeyman will waste no time getting started.
The Raiders had spoken to Tim Sheens about the possibility of linking with the club he led to three premierships, while juggling his Australian duties. However, Sheens’s ongoing battle with Wests Tigers will prevent him from participating in any proposed role in Canberra.
Meninga – the Queensland Origin coach – became a part of Furner’s team last season and the former teammates will join forces again when Meninga is in Canberra.
Furner and Dunemann have taken charge of pre-season for the past month, but Kimmorley adds a new dimension to the coaching team. Kimmorley was part of Des Hasler’s support staff at the Bulldogs last season as they charged into the grand final. But the chance to be more hands-on and to work with the Raiders’ young squad is believed to have convinced him to move to Canberra.
”I don’t want to pigeon hole him into a specialist position, I think he’s extremely strong over a range of areas and he can work with our under-20s and under-18s as well,” Furner said of Kimmorley. ”I’m really excited about it because it finalises the last piece in the puzzle and we can give the players the best advice and the best direction.
”He’ll obviously get a great opportunity to be more hands-on and have an influence with our squad.”
Kimmorley played more than 300 NRL games before retiring at the end of the 2010 season. The Raiders tried to convince him to play one more season in Canberra, but the 36-year-old chose to stay in Sydney with his family. Now he has committed to help the Raiders for the next two seasons.
Canberra halfback Sam Williams grew up watching Kimmorley establish himself as one of the leading playmakers in the NRL. He played 20 Tests for Australia and 10 State of Origins for NSW.
”I think he’s going to be a great acquisition to the team and he’s up to date with the way halfbacks need to play these days so I’m looking forward to it,” Williams said.
”Good halfbacks often talk about trying to think two plays ahead and that’s going to be something I hope to learn off him.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.