The identity of Leeds’ new head coach has been revealed.
While David Furner might be a new man in the hotseat, he’s a familiar face. The 47-year-old returns to the Rhinos in 2019, 15 years since retiring as a player after two years at Headingley.
But who exactly is the 47-year-old? Here’s all you need to know.
Furner was born into Rugby League.
His father, Don Furner, played for Australia in the 50s and, like his son, went on to enjoy a successful coaching career with Queanbeyan, Easts and Canberra. Most notably, however, he coached Australia in the 80s.
So it was inevitable that, eventually, David would follow.
That said, he started his playing career in union for the Queanbeyan Whites, eventually moving to the 13-man game in 1991.
The club he joined was Canberra, a club that has proven to play a major role in both his and his family’s life.
He would spend nine seasons playing for the Green Machine, making over 200 appearances for the Raiders in the second-row.
In that time, Canberra won the Premiership in 1994, with Furner winning the Clive Churchill Medal for his man of the match display.
1994 proved to be a superb year for Furner. He would go on to make his debut for Australia, though he was on the losing side as they fell to a 6-4 defeat to Great Britain. It was his only appearance for the Kangaroos.
In the years that followed, Furner played eight times for New South Wales and made history as he became the NRL’s greatest ever points-scoring forward, having amassed 1,218 points due to his impressive goal-kicking career. Since leaving the NRL at the end of 2000, only three forwards have surpassed his points haul; Corey Parker, Craig Fitzgibbon and Cameron Smith.
In 2001, Furner made his move to Super League with Wigan. Two years with the Warriors saw him win the Challenge Cup and lose the Super League Grand Final.
Following retirement, Furner returned to Canberra as their assistant coach. After three seasons, he was eventually promoted to the head coach role, succeeding Neil Henry after he moved on to North Queensland Cowboys. The appointment was made by his brother, Don Furner, Jr, who was the CEO of the club.
It was a tough maiden season for Furner, with the club finishing 13th during his maiden season, winning just nine games.
2010 saw a year of improvement. Canberra finished seventh and came agonisingly close to a place in the Preliminary Finals, losing 26-24 against West Tigers.
Sadly, they couldn’t retain their form the following year. They would finish 15th on the league ladder, avoiding the wooden spoon on points difference. However, 2012 saw Furner guide the club to a sixth-place finish and another Finals victory, losing in the semi-finals to South Sydney Rabbitohs.
His fifth and final season at the club was a disappointing one, ultimately finishing 13th despite being just four points adrift of the top eight.
CANBERRA COACHING CAREER
109 games – 47 wins – 62 losses
Following that season, Furner dropped down to a role as an assistant coach at North Queensland. Under Paul Green, Furner won the Premiership for a second time, 21 years after winning it as a player.
After three seasons at the Cowboys, Further joined South Sydney, where he remains to this day.
Internationally, he has been working as an assistant for Tonga and went to the 2017 World Cup as they lost in the semi-final to England.
However, he is now set to return to a role as the top coach with Leeds. Upon his return, he will link up with Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Rob Burrow and Chev Walker, who all remain at the club to this day.