I didn't mislead Raider players, Henry - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I didn't mislead Raider players, Henry

By Philip Henderson and Peter Veness 01/04/2008 09:48:14 PM Comments (0)

Outgoing Canberra coach Neil Henry denies he mislead players over his intentions to cut short his contract at the NRL club.

Henry was granted an early release from the final season of his three-year deal on Monday with the Raiders confirming current assistant David Furner will take over from Henry next season.

Henry's request came just weeks after star halfback Todd Carney turned down lucrative offers from Manly and Penrith to re-sign with the Raiders after receiving an assurance from Henry he would be at the club in 2009.

"The day before I signed I went to (Henry's) office and he said he was going to stay until at least the end of next year. He gave me his word," Carney said at the weekend.

Henry, though, denied he had already intended to seek a release from his deal at the time of speaking to Carney three weeks ago.

"He wasn't mislead because at that stage there was no chance that I was going to be breaking a contract for 2009. I flatly refute that," said Henry, who is expected to sign a five-year deal with North Queensland this week.

Henry spoke at length to reporters, saying the decision to leave Canberra had not been easy.

"Coaches are normally trying to hold on to their job in places," Henry said.

"I was sort of in the position where a couple of clubs were interested in me but I was still contracted and that was difficult."

Reports claimed Henry had a get out clause which allowed him to gain an early release from the Raiders, but chief executive Don Furner refused to go into details of Henry's contract.

"Probably Friday last I sat back here with him (Henry) and had a chat to him late in the night, that was probably the D Day," said Don Furner, the brother of David.

"We decided that we wouldn't stand in his way.

"I'm sure that Neil will leave this place in a lot better shape than when he came."

David Furner's elevation continues the family's long link with the Raiders.

Father Don was Canberra's inaugural coach in 1982 and with Wayne Bennett guided the club to their first grand final in 1987.

David Furner, a former Australian international, had a stellar playing career with the Raiders, playing 200 top-grade games.

He is still the club's leading pointscorer with 1218 points in the lime green.

On Tuesday he said it was "a dream come true" to be offered the top job.

"Like anything, even with the playing days, you prepare yourself as best you can physically and mentally and I see this in the same situation.," David Furner said.

"The remainder of the year I'll be working real close to Neil.

"He's (got) a fantastic work ethic and there's a lot of stuff that I'll be taking from him.

"It's been a very good opportunity."

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