Todd Carney should get one more go

Tim Gore Columnist

By Tim Gore, Tim Gore is a Roar Expert

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    Does Todd Carney deserve one last shot? (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville)

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    As a hardcore Canberra Raiders supporter, these are words I never thought I’d type: give Todd Carney another go.

    The club that gives him that chance will be greatly rewarded.

    The tattooed boy from Goulburn has been on a long and ugly trip through the world of rugby league since he debuted for the Green Machine in 2004.

    While tough love from his coaches early on was sadly lacking, Carney has no one to blame but himself.

    Now 31, he is desperate for one more go in the NRL to try and claim the last flickers of light of a career that could have been great – if he could have just stayed off the grog.

    He had to go from Canberra back in 2008. We wanted him to stay and become the star we knew he could be, however when CEO Don Furner Jr pulled the pin in late July of that year, it was the right thing to do.

    I said as much to Furner before the following weekend’s game and told him he had my support.

    “If we win today then I’m right, if we lose then I’m wrong,” Furner replied to me with little joy. He hadn’t wanted to do it either.

    It was horrible watching Carney win the Dally M Medal with the Roosters in 2010, but his subsequent sacking from the club in 2011, followed by the bubbler incident in 2014 with the Sharks, suggested we’d been better off without him.

    Carney would go down as a cautionary tale in the annals of rugby league. Talent wasted. Potential unrealised. A wild child who just couldn’t help himself.

    However, my mind started to shift on this firmly held view a few months ago, when Raiders captain Jarrod Croker got married.

    There, in the photos of the wedding party, behind Croker and his beautiful wife Brittney, was Todd Carney.

    While Croker is four years Carney’s junior, the two are close mates – something I didn’t know until that point.

    We’ve all heard the stories told about how recidivist miscreants like Carney are actually “a really good bloke who just gets a bit loose on the grog”. When I hear those tales I’ve always thought, “Yeah right. Sure they are…”

    However, if a man of Croker’s calibre is prepared to openly vouch for Carney, then we should be listening. I certainly am.

    Cronulla Sharks Todd Carney passing

    (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville)

    I’ve met a lot of complete assholes in my two decades in the rugby league media. Toxic, misogynistic, bully-grubs who think that because they have status in the NRL, they can do as they like abound. So when you meet a good person – someone of real integrity – you notice quickly.

    I’m fortunate to work with the not just the best human ever to lace up a boot, but also the best man I know in general, Alan Tongue. The likes of Hazem El Masri, Wayne Pearce, Brad Clyde, Billy Moore, Sia Soliola, Trent Merrin, Jason Nightingale, Tim Mannah, Ivan Cleary and Petero Civoneceva are really good humans too.

    Add Jarrod Croker to that list. For a man of 27, he is overloaded with integrity. A lot of people questioned why when he was made captain of the Raiders, but not one person who knew him did. He’s the sort of guy you want setting the standards and direction of your team.

    So if he says that Carney should get another go, then the idea must have merit.

    Talking to Carney, you know that he is desperate for one last chance. He is all too aware of how badly he’s played his cards, but if he can get just one more go to show his wares, he is determined to get it right.

    The NRL is likely to register any contract put before them (assuming conditions are met) too.

    “I just need a club to give me a chance,” Carney told me.

    Todd Carney bleeding

    The NRL’s former bad boy could be edging towards a return. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Colin Whelan)

    And why not? Three years out of the NRL is a heavy penalty, especially when Matt Lodge is getting another chance.

    Further, Russell Packer just this week was given co-captaincy of the Wests Tigers, in one of the greatest turnarounds I’ve ever seen.

    Jailed for a violent assault, Packer has now earned a university degree, done community service work – voluntarily – and has improved so much as a human that aforementioned NRL good guy Ivan Cleary has placed him in a leadership position.

    If we can allow Lodge and Packer – after their violent crimes – to have another chance and they become better humans because of it, then surely we should give Carney one more go to rage against the dying of the light.

    I want a club to give Carney one more shot at redeeming himself.

    Make no mistake, it would be his last chance. If he so much as looked at a stubby or even farted in the tunnel, he’d be gone. But I reckon, while a slow learner, the kid from Goulburn really understands now what is expected of him.

    I want him to have a chance at redemption. I want to see it. And I’d be happy to see the prodigal son once more in lime green.

    He just needs the chance.

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

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    The Crowd Says (78)

    • Roar Guru

      February 16th 2018 @ 7:00am
      Dutski said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      Morning Tim. Hundred percent agree with you on this. We see guys have beaten partners, guys who assault taxidrivers, even as you pointed out with Packer, guys who assault complete strangers but are playing in the NRL. Whereas Carney his activities have been more distasteful than illegal and he’s a pariah. Because it goes to show, if you gonna do something, do it away from cameras and all will be forgiven in time. Do it in front of a camera and you’re tarred for ever.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 7:28am
        Peter Phelps said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

        Its not about that.

        The courts punish illegal behaviour and have done so in the cases of Packer et al.

        What Carney did was highly damaging to the NRL and to the sport of RL time and time again. The man was an absolute PR disaster as far as the sport was concerned with fans and sponsors turning away not wanting to be a part of that.

        Fortunately my little girls were too young to be interested in the sport when he was going around but imagine some young kid idolising that and then seeing that sort of behaviour.

        The NRL need to be tough with him but weren’t quick enough to prevent the damage. They do not need him back.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 7:51am
        mushi said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        I think he has done some illegal stuff Dutski,it’s just the “high jinx” stuff was the proverbial straw on the camel.

        Though it does prove your point, everyone talks about the bubbler thing not the drink driving fleeing police and leaving his mate to take the rap. If I was running the team the bubbler incident in and of itself isn’t the problem with was more a bright neon sign that he wasn’t really willing to make changes that would prevent his past behaviour repeating

        My worry with Carney is clearly he’s incredibly selfish, that shouldn’t keep him out of the league but If I’ve got young players I wouldn’t want him on the team (I worried about this when he with the roosters and think some of the talent over character decisions have harmed us). If I’m a veteran team then I’d roll the dice on a one year contract.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 9:07am
        Greg said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        2006 – Charged with drink driving and reckless driving, suspended from driving for 5 years
        2007 – Charged with failing to stop when directed by police, negligent driving, and driving while disqualified after leading the police on a car chase through Canberra
        2008 – Urinated on a mans head in a Canberra nightcllub, sacked by the raiders
        2009 – Went on a vandalism spree in Goulburn damaging a car and a shop front, received a 12 month suspended jail sentence
        2009 – Arrested outside a pub in Atherton
        2009 – Set a mans pants on fire New Years Eve
        2011 – Charged with drink driving
        2011 – Sacked by the Roosters after breaking an alcohol ban
        2014 – Sacked by the Sharks for the infamous urinal photo

        There’s a heap of illegal activities in the list above. One could argue that players like Lodge and Packer are far more deserving of a second chance than Carney, with emphasis on the word second. What they did was far worse than anything Carney has ever done but the question is – is one big offence worse than half a dozen medium and minor offences? One moment/night of madness shouldn’t cost you your career but for someone who just doesn’t learn and keeps offending then they don’t deserve a fifth/sixth/seventh chance

        • February 16th 2018 @ 9:30am
          spruce moose said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          One could argue that players like Lodge and Packer are far more deserving of a second chance than Carney, with emphasis on the word second. What they did was far worse than anything Carney has ever done but the question is – is one big offence worse than half a dozen medium and minor offences?

          Are you kidding?

          Packer deliberately kicked a man’s head when he was already unconscious. That the man isn’t dead is solely due to luck than anything else.

          • February 16th 2018 @ 10:09am
            Greg said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            And you could argue that it’s luck that nobody was killed in one of Carney’s multiple drink driving offences

            • February 16th 2018 @ 11:14am
              spruce moose said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

              Predictable response.

              The obvious retort is that Carney didn’t enter the car with the expressed intent of running down anyone either.

              Russell Packer willingly knocked someone out, and then doubled down and kicked him in the head.

              It’s beyond comparison.

              You have massively missed the mark here.

              • Columnist

                February 16th 2018 @ 11:46am
                Tim Gore said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                People people people
                Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.
                This is supposed to be a happy occasion!
                But seriously, Carney has paid the price for his crimes. Even murderers get released eventually and Todd didn’t murder anyone.

              • February 17th 2018 @ 7:19am
                Cowboyfan said | February 17th 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

                Todd Carney; a very brave and influential player – and my special guest here today.

                Perhaps his career is not quite dead?

        • Roar Guru

          February 16th 2018 @ 9:52am
          Dutski said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Hi Greg
          It doesn’t read well. I agree that he’s done some illegal stuff. But some of the others e.g “set man’s pants on fire” – that was a beat up. He was lighting farts and it went wrong. See what I mean? Distasteful rather than illegal. Look, the man’s got a poor track record and seems slow to learn, but as OB points out – he’s never kicked anyone in the head once they were unconscious like Packer. He’s never done any of the stuff Lodge did. He never assaulted his partner and smashed up a cab like Zane Tetevano. I could go on. But no, because a photo showed him pretending to drink his own urine he’s bringing the game into disrepute.
          As far as I’m concerned the game is fine – all he’s done is bring himself into disrepute. Any young kid who sees that should be talking to his parents, who explain that it’s a silly thing to do. “What a silly man! But look at all these good people who play the game – aren’t they making better choices”. It’s not hard.
          Dude did something silly, got punished, wants to come back. But no, the game doesn’t need him… In the eyes of some here it seems he’d be better off if he was a drug dealer or bashed someone nearly to death or tried to strangle his partner. Those people are much more deserving of a second chance…
          Spare me…

          • February 16th 2018 @ 11:17am
            Greg said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            Why don’t you ask one of the family members of one of the hundreds of fatalities due to drink driving every year if Carney deserves not a second chance but a fourth chance? He’s been convicted multiple times for drink driving, which is a crime.

            • February 16th 2018 @ 11:29am
              spruce moose said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              For the record, 38 fatalities from drink driving in Australia in 2017. Should be zero of course.
              171 deaths by assault. Again, should be zero.

              “You added fuel to the fire by attacking a man lying motionless on the ground, punching him and then standing up and stomping on his head.” The magistrate who sentenced Russell Packer.

              Read it. Absorb it. You are so far off the mark here. If convicted felons get second chances, so does Todd Carney. If convicted thugs like Matt Lodge get a second chance, so does Todd Carney. If convicted sexual predators like Blake Ferguson get a second chance, so does Todd Carney.

              The end.

              • Roar Guru

                February 16th 2018 @ 11:33am
                Dutski said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

                That’s the thing, spruce. Agree 100% I’m not saying Carney is more deserving of a chance. But I can’t believe he’s less deserving.

            • February 16th 2018 @ 11:51am
              BA Sports said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

              If you believe people done for DUI don’t deserve another chance because of the danger it puts others in, that is an acceptable position – As long as you hold everyone to the same standard.

              Given Speeding kills more people than drunk driving every year, I assume you would have to hold players to the same standard there also? I shutter to think how many NRL players would have multiple speeding offences

              • February 16th 2018 @ 12:19pm
                spruce moose said | February 16th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

                Good point BA. Really good point.

              • February 16th 2018 @ 3:51pm
                Mushi said | February 16th 2018 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                The speeding thing is a beat up, one is a traffic offence one is an actual crime

    • February 16th 2018 @ 7:31am
      BA Sports said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      It wouldn’t bother me if he was back in the NRL. His actions didn’t harm me and they didn’t appear to directly harm others – not in any life altering way anyway. Society is getting a bit too precious and righteous about the misdemeanor things these days and people just want to sit on their high horse and cast damn nation upon every little slip up. I have probably been guilty of it myself.

      And if he did get a chance, it isn’t like it is at the expense of someone else – Because if that someone else was good enough, the club would take the someone else given Carney’s history and risk.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 8:09am
        mushi said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Misdemenaors? He’s had multiple criminal convictions and I think two suspended jail sentences!

        Urinated on and bullied some poor punter he’s claimed it was life altering but I’m sure the rest of the world would bounce back hunky dory if a group of large men threatened you and forced you to sit there and be humilated in public.

        High speed chase evading police, fleeing after the chase ended, got his mate sacked – mate alleged his was drunk (club rumoured to have then incetivised his mate to shut up). Oh and he’d already lost so his licence. bascially it was pure luck some poor punter didn’t get hurt by him

        Criminal conviction for vandalism during his first hiatus.

        Drink driving at the roosters

        Two attempts to get a UK working visa were denied due criminal history.

        Also a less known anecdote he “asked” a friend of mine to give him his shirt (the friend did given the obvious alternative) and buy him drink to humiliate him because he was talking to the girl Carney wanted to chat up in a night club.

        • Columnist

          February 16th 2018 @ 11:48am
          Tim Gore said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          He’s done his time Mushi.

          • February 16th 2018 @ 3:55pm
            Mushi said | February 16th 2018 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

            Yes, never said he hadn’t.

            But to say he’s only had misdemeanours is completely bull. The guy has criminal convictions.

            As I said above if I was in charge of a veteran team I’d roll the dice. But I think if you let him near a young team you’re inviting trouble.

    • February 16th 2018 @ 7:44am
      bear54 said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      It’s time for Carney to return. A three year exile is sufficient for his transgressions.

      Canberra deserve the first opportunity for his services given they developed him only to see two other clubs reap the benefits. Carney in the number 1 jersey would be an injection of creativity in place of the pedestrian Wighton.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 7:53am
        mushi said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        His defensive positioning and field coverage is woeful. When he briefly played fullback for the roosters he was great in attack but in defence he was constantly out of position and was always too casual with his movement.

      • Columnist

        February 16th 2018 @ 8:11am
        Tim Gore said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        Nothing pedestrian about our Jack.

    • February 16th 2018 @ 7:46am
      Greg Ambrose said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      A try he created for Brett Stewart in SOO showed his great talent , a clean break thru the middle then a pass which was timed to perfection. DCE and Carney would be a very attacking combination and I’d like to see it happen.

      I’ve seen many worse things happen on the field than ‘ bubbler gate’ . I won’t mention the players name but the player who jumped on a clearly injured player last year was one incident. The people who film these minor incidents and then post them like Pearce and the Mutt are the ones who need to have a good look at themselves

    • Roar Guru

      February 16th 2018 @ 7:51am
      The Barry said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      I think he should be allowed back.

      A year out of the game in 2009(?) three years out this time. Four years seems a pretty hard core penalty for being a tool compared to far lighter penalties for more heinous acts.

      Don’t get me wrong Carney has no one to blame but himself but I think giving him an opportunity to close out his career the right way is good for the individual and (hopefully) good for the game.

      • February 16th 2018 @ 9:19am
        mushi said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        I think someone from the NRL last year said they’d let him back but no club has shown any interest.

        It’s an interesting case study in brand management – I think the bubbler did him a favour as no one seems to really associate him with any of his other exploits now.

        • Roar Guru

          February 16th 2018 @ 10:40am
          The Barry said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          Very interesting. Mention Todd Carney and most people will think bubbler ahead of DUIs or police chases (or his Dally M wins).

          While I’m happy for him to be given the opportunity, I’d be thinking long and hard before signing him.

          The onbvious upside is that you’d be getting a very talented player for bottom dollar.

          The downside is potentially alienating sponsors and to a lesser degree fans.

          But I think more importantly, if you’ve been striving to establish a culture of accountability and good decision making at your club, what does his signing represent to the playing group?

          You potentially undermine every message you’ve sent.

      • Columnist

        February 16th 2018 @ 9:25am
        Tim Gore said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        we agree on something! This day in 2018!

        • Roar Guru

          February 16th 2018 @ 9:54am
          Dutski said | February 16th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Screen shot it, Tim. It could be your new homescreen…

        • Roar Guru

          February 16th 2018 @ 11:17am
          The Barry said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          That’s not fair!

          I often agree with (and always appreciate) your statistical analysis and findings…

          • Columnist

            February 16th 2018 @ 11:49am
            Tim Gore said | February 16th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

            Nothing else though!

            • Roar Guru

              February 16th 2018 @ 12:19pm
              The Barry said | February 16th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

              I’m not so sure…

              But you do tend to get a bit cranky and militant in the off season…

    • February 16th 2018 @ 7:56am
      Jeff dustby said | February 16th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Agree Tim

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