Karney could play as either a centreman or rover and first appeared for West Torrens in 1919. He was their best and fairest winner in 1920 and 1921. In 1921 he performed well in the Magarey Medal count, finishing equal first but missing out after the umpires conferred to decide on just one winner. Karney however was awarded a retrospective Medal in 1998. Over his career he represented South Australia at interstate football on eight occasions, the first in his debut season. He was a member of West Torren's inaugural premiership side in 1924, playing as vice-captain and coach. When he retired in 1928 he finished with a total of 128 games.