Eels wary of rebounding Carney
Parramatta are fearing a Todd Carney-inspired backlash from Cronulla on Monday night with the Sharks playmaker desperate to prove his State of Origin nerves were just that.
Despite a quiet display in the Origin opener, Carney was on Sunday night retained in the NSW No.6 jumper for next week’s second game in Sydney – where the Blues will attempt to secure the win they need to send the series to a decider.
The Sharks playmaker hasn’t played since that fateful night in Melbourne – when the pressure of carrying a Blues side desperate to end Queensland’s dominance played on his mind.
Before he gets another crack at the Maroons however, Carney will face up against a Parramatta side which has struggled mightily this year – with Eels skipper Nathan Hindmarsh expecting Carney to be at his best at Parramatta Stadium.
“He’s been around long enough to bounce back from that and not everyone can have the best game every week,” Hindmarsh said.
“He’ll bounce back and do what he’s been doing all year with the Sharks.”
It was that form that propelled Carney from the sky blue of the Sharks into the sky blue of NSW.
But NSW coach Ricky Stuart admits the occasion got the better of Carney, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday.
“He was really nervous Toddy and he will be a lot better for the run,” Stuart said of Carney’s Origin debut.
“All players get nervous before an Origin game, it’s a matter of how you handle it.
“You can play 20 or 30 Origins and you’re going to be nervous – it’s just a matter of getting into the game as quick as possible.”
Carney, along with teammate and Blues skipper Paul Gallen as well as Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne have the added pressure of wanting to get through the game uninjured having already been named in the NSW team.
Despite being named on the bench, Reni Maitua is expected to start at lock for the Eels, trading places with Joseph Paulo.© AAP 2013