Don Furner OAM
Don has had a lifetime association with rugby league, working in many different facets of the sport. As a player, he rose from the ranks of a junior to become a Kangaroo tourist, and as a coach and administrator he has provided more to the sport of rugby league than could ever be repaid.
Don came to the Canberra region from Junee in the early 1960’s and successfully coached the Queanbeyan Blues for 13 seasons. He was largely responsible for scouting and assembling the Canberra Raiders squad to participate in the Australian rugby league Winfield Cup. Don coached the side from its inaugural season in
1982 until 1987 and at the same time coached the Kangaroos side from 1986 to 1988.
Widely recognised for his ability to unite a team, Don was awarded the Dally M Coach of the Year in 1987. In recognition of his services to sport, Don was honoured with the Order of Australia in 1987.
During the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s, Don was involved with the NSW Rugby League Referees and became Chairman of Selectors for the NSW and Australian rugby league panels. In his later years, Don has committed his time coaching the 2000 Fijian World Cup team, working with country rugby league teams and scouting for new talent.
Don has contributed greatly to the Canberra rugby league community by finding and drafting the best talent from around the local area and further afield, including such identities as Laurie Daley, Mal Meninga, Chris O’Sullivan, Steve and Kevin Walters, Dean Lance and Gary Belcher.
His loyalty to the sport of rugby league and the local region has ensured that his immense talents continue to benefit Canberra residents of all ages.
Born: 26 December 1932
Deceased: 24 February 2020