Carney can beat Maroons, says Bellamy
Former NSW mentor Craig Bellamy has anointed Cronulla five-eighth Todd Carney as the man to break Queensland’s six-year State of Origin stranglehold following his outstanding start to the season.
Bellamy, whose undefeated Melbourne outfit will take on Carney’s Sharks on Sunday, knows just how hard it is to counter Queensland’s brilliance having endured an unsuccessful three-year stint as Blues coach.
But Carney’s performance in Monday night’s loss to South Sydney, in which the 25-year-old scored an excellent solo try and nearly carried the Sharks to victory, convinced him the once-troubled star was ready for the big stage.
“He’s been outstanding. He’s certainly given the Sharks some extra dimensions with their attack,” Bellamy said.
“He’s worked his way into form, worked his way into playing with a new team.
“On Monday night we saw him explode, to be honest.
“I’m pretty much sure, like everybody else, he’s going to be in that NSW side.”
Carney will get to see first hand the enormous task the Blues face this year when he comes up against the triumvirate of stars intent on continuing the Maroons’ unprecedented reign – Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
Carney accepted the task of stopping the Storm’s big three was daunting, but in a positive sign for Ricky Stuart and Blues fans the 2010 Dally M medallist said it was a challenge he wanted to take on.
“A lot of teams wish they had the answers (on how to stop the big three),” Carney said.
“They’re the benchmark team and their halves are going great, Billy at the back … (It’s) going to be a big test.
“For me to play well, it’s something I like to challenge myself with and hopefully I can play a good game.”
Cronulla assistant coach Peter Sharp, who has taken control of the team this week while coach Shane Flanagan recovers from surgery to correct a twisted bowel, said Carney is “electric” at the moment.
“He’s on a different planet … he’s a couple of steps ahead of everybody at the moment,” Sharp said.
“In warm-up on Monday night, he was absolutely electric and that transferred into the game and we’ll expect the same on the weekend.”
Carney’s task on Sunday will not be made easier by the likely loss of inspiration skipper Paul Gallen, but the 25-year-old said the team viewed the defeat to Souths, which ended their impressive six-game winning streak, as a motivating factor.
“It probably drives us a bit more,” Carney said.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the back side to start working harder. I think we got a little bit complacent during last week and it showed in certain areas of the game.”© AAP 2013