From 1989 to 1994, the Canberra Raiders dominated the NSWRL, winning three premierships. While the Raiders haven’t won anything in first grade since, the Green Machine Legacy survives in the coach’s box.
Mal Meninga’s appointment as Australian coach makes him the fourth Raider to lead the Kangaroos and sixth Raider to coach at rep level. After coaching the Raiders from 1997 to 2001, Meninga led Queensland to eight consecutive Origin wins and nine from 10 overall.
Don Furner AUS 1986–1988
Don Furner was the Raiders’ inaugural coach. He was instrumental from dragging Canberra from their only wooden spoon in 1982 to their first grand final in 1987. Furner coached Australia during the “Unbeatables” 1986 Ashes tour, winning all 10 tour games, five Tests (three Ashes Tests and two against France) and a warm-up game against PNG. In 1988, he coached the Kangaroos in their 2-1 Ashes win in Australia. Don’s son David (a Raider from 1992-2000) coached Canberra from 2009-2013.
Tim Sheens – NSW 1991; AUS 2009–2015
Taking over from Furner, Sheens lead Canberra to their three premierships (1989, 1990, 1994). In 1991 he coached NSW to a 2-1 Origin series loss. After leaving Canberra in 1996, Sheens coached North Queensland (1997-2001) and the Wests Tigers (2003-2012). The Tigers beat the Cowboys in the 2005 grand final, giving Sheens his fourth NSWRL/NRL premiership. Sheens accepted the Australian role in 2009 after Ricky Stuart was sacked. Under Sheens, Australia won 26 of 31 games, including the 2013 World Cup. Sheens is currently the Director of Rugby League at the Salford Red Devils.
Ricky Stuart – NSW 2005, 2011-2012; AUS 2006–2008
A vital part of Canberra’s premiership run as a player, Stuart’s coaching record hasn’t been as successful. Stuart won a premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2002 and Origin with NSW in 2005. He resumed the NSW role in 2011/12, with Queensland winning both series’ 2-1. Stuart started coaching Australia in 2006 and won the tri-nations that year (even though he was booed by a parochial Suncorp Stadium crowd). The role ended controversially after the 2008 World Cup loss to New Zealand. He was sacked after abusing referee Ashley Klein in the hotel following the game. After controversial coaching stints with Cronulla and Parramatta, Stuart rejoined Canberra in 2014. The Raiders finished in the bottom four that year, but had a vastly improved 2015, floating in and around the eight most of the season before finishing 10th.
Craig Bellamy – NSW 2008-2010
Known for his brilliant coaching record at the Melbourne Storm, it’s easy to forget Bellamy was a foundation Raiders player, with 148 games from 1982 to 1992, including the 1990 premiership (he also coached the Raiders President’s Cup team to a premiership in 1995). Over an incredible 328 games from 2003, Bellamy made the Storm premiership heavyweights, then helped rebuild after the salary cap scandal in 2010. The Storm has made the finals every year since Bellamy started (excluding 2010, when they were ineligible), despite constant criticism of their “boring” style of football. Bellamy couldn’t translate strong domestic form to Origin. It didn’t help that he coached against a powerful Queensland team from 2008 to 2010, winning just two games.
Laurie Daley – NSW 2013-2015
Daley was the first NSW coach to break Queensland’s eight series streak, finally breaking through in 2014 and beating former teammate Meninga. NSW won the first two games 12-8 and 6-4 and lost the dead rubber 32-8. Replacing former Raiders teammate Stuart, Daley was one of the first stand-alone NSW coaches, which had worked well for Meninga and Queensland. Daley played 244 games for the Raiders, including the 1989, 1990 and 1994 premierships.