Don Furner has had enough of his players being linked with rival NRL clubs, with the Canberra chief executive adamant NSW Origin star Blake Ferguson is going nowhere.
A frustrated Furner said he was at a loss to explain a report in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph that suggested Ferguson wanted out on the final two years of his contract – claiming he was desperate to be closer to cousin Anthony Mundine in Sydney.
Mundine played a crucial role in getting Ferguson’s career back on track, taking the Raiders star under his wing during a NRL-imposed suspension to address alcohol-related issues.
But both Mundine and Furner admitted they had no knowledge of Ferguson having a desire to quit the Raiders, Furner clearly irked at the suggestion having spent the past couple of months refuting suggestions rookie of the year candidate Anthony Milford and Test prop David Shillington were also on the way out of the club.
“I’ve spent all day denying something … I don’t know how it can happen,” Furner told AAP.
“Anthony Milford, he’s under contract. A couple of weeks ago it was David Shillington’s signed with the Broncos … how can he sign? He’s under contract.”
Asked if he had felt the need to speak to Ferguson about his future, Furner said: “No. Not unless he’s got a problem.”
Mundine, who spoke with Ferguson two days ago, said he had no knowledge of Ferguson seeking a release from the Raiders.
“I don’t even know the situation – it’s news to me,” Mundine told Fairfax Media.
“The time he spent with me really gave him a sense of direction and made him mature mentally. He learned a lot about himself.
“He really enjoyed that – that’s probably why people are hearing these things.”
Don Furner said coach David Furner enjoyed a good relationship with Mundine, adding that Ferguson’s desire to extend his representative career could also be aided by him staying in the nation’s capital.
“If he’s going to be in the frame for the Australian side at the end of the year, well Dave’s the assistant (Australian) coach,” Don Furner said.
“Dave more than anyone will be the one pushing him to Tim Sheens.”
While the Raiders boss was refusing to give the idea much credit, former Canberra skipper Alan Tongue conceded losing the likes of Ferguson and Milford would not go down well with fans.
The lime green faithful already have to contend with sacked duo Todd Carney and Josh Dugan reviving their careers with other clubs to the point where they were representing NSW.
“It’s definitely unsettling for the Raiders – I think it’s something that they would be frustrated with,” Tongue said.
“Especially with Anthony Milford who they’ve had for a number of years through their system.
“They finally get him there and he’s shown he’s the exciting talent that everyone thought he would be and the Raiders have persisted with him, only to lose him to another club is devastating.
“… it happens everywhere, but I suppose we just see it at the Raiders more often than not.”
Despite being stood down for a week after the opening round of the season due to an alcohol-related offence, the Raiders showed faith in Ferguson by handing him a new two-year deal in May, a month before he earned his first State of Origin jumper.
He was due to earn a second Blues appearance before the boozy night out which led to his suspension and an assault charge which is still before the courts.