Cronulla linchpin Todd Carney is racing the clock to be fit for Friday night’s sudden-death semi-final after reinjuring the hamstring injury he took into his side’s win over North Queensland.
Carney returned after two weeks on the sidelines to help engineer his side’s dramatic 20-18 elimination final win over the the Cowboys, but was a passenger for the last few minutes.
His defence in the lead-up to Kane Linnett’s almost-match-winner in the final minute was non-existent, having been forced to re-strap his right thigh in the dying stages.
Carney was reluctant to talk after the game – with scans on Monday a likely scenario.
“I’ll talk during the week – I don’t even know myself yet,” Carney said as he left the sheds with his leg heavily strapped with ice.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan admitted it didn’t look good for his star pivot, with just six days until the next match.
“He’s a bit down at the moment, he feels that he’s strained that hammy,” Flanagan said.
“He hasn’t torn it.
“He’s not in the best place at the moment because he’d (normally) be looking forward to next weekend.
“Hopefully he’ll be right for next weekend.”
Whether Carney is there or not, the Sharks proved against the Cowboys that skill isn’t always the key ingredient for success, with John Morris’ try-saver on Kane Linnett in the last minute testament to a courageous performance.
“I thought they’d scored,” Flanagan said.
“When (Cowboys fullback Matt) Bowen had the ball in his hands, we were at sixes and sevens and if anyone can find a way to get the ball over the tryline … I’ve seen him do it for the last 15 years.
“We got lucky there in the end.
“It wasn’t our most skillful performance, it was one of our bravest.
“We had some injured boys out there … typical of the whole team John Morris getting over there in the corner in the 80th minute.”