|Carney at the 2012 Dally M Awards|
2 June 1986 |
Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||184 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||90 kg (14 st 2 lb)|
|Position||Five-eighth, Halfback, Fullback|
|2012||New South Wales||3||0||7||0||14|
|As of 4 July 2012|
|Source: Rugby League Project, Love Rugby League, Yesterday's Hero|
Todd Carney (born 2 June 1986) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer for the Catalans Dragons in the Super League. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative goal-kicking five-eighth, he previously played for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Canberra Raiders and Sydney Roosters whom he won the 2010 Dally M Medal.
In 2008 while with Canberra Carney was de-registered as a player by the NRL for off-field misbehaviour. After a year living and playing in Far North Queensland, Carney returned to play in the NRL for the Sydney Roosters. Yet by mid-2011, Carney's alcohol-related off-field misbehaviours became widely known and he was released from his contract a year early, in September 2011. He was then picked up by the Sharks for the 2012 to 2017 seasons. Half way through the 2014 season Carney was sacked by Cronulla for further off-field misbehaviour.
Carney played his junior rugby league for the Goulburn Stockmen, before being recruited to the Canberra Raiders junior academy at age twelve. Playing in the Jersey Flegg Championship, Carney's team were premier champions in 2003.
Professional playing career
Carney made his National Rugby League premiership debut during the 2004 NRL season at the age of 17 and, after a handful of appearances, he was named the Canberra Raiders' rookie of the year. Canberra Raiders had signed Jason Smith and Sam Peez who, in 2005, helped shape Carney's game. Despite only playing 11 games with a single try, Carney was rewarded with a starting position in the Junior Kangaroos annual fixture against Papua New Guinea, where he tallied a record 20 points.
2006 was Carney's breakthrough year where he cemented his position in first grade, scoring 12 tries in 18 games. Alongside Adam Mogg, he was the Raiders' leading try-scorer for 2006. His long range kicking also became a feature of his game, forcing numerous 40-20s. Carney won three games in extra time off 40 metre drop goals as Canberra finished in the Top 8. He was again selected in the Junior Kangaroos squad, where he was appointed captain. After an incident on 16 December 2006 in Goulburn, Carney was charged with drink driving and reckless driving. Following legal proceedings, in February 2007 Carney was suspended from driving a motor vehicle for five years.
Taking on the role of Five-eighth in 2007, Carney earned three Man of the Match awards from seven games. However his selection chances in the NSW Country Origin team were laid to rest due to another driving-related off-field misbehaviour. On 18 May 2007, despite being disqualified from driving, Carney drove a ute belonging to teammate Steve Irwin. Police began to pursue the vehicle after noticing the wheels of the ute momentarily lose traction as it went around a corner. Despite the police car having its sirens sounding and lights flashing, Carney refused to stop his speeding vehicle, leading police on a high-speed chase through the back streets of the Canberra suburb of Bruce. After turning into a dead-end street, Carney stopped the car and fled the scene on foot, leaving Irwin in the passenger seat. Irwin told police Carney was the driver. Police went to Carney's house, but he was not there, instead the police found 23-year-old room mate Tom Witcombe who claimed he had not seen Carney since earlier that afternoon. The next morning, Carney turned himself in. On Tuesday 12 June 2007, Carney appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court, pleading guilty to the charges of failing to stop when directed by police, negligent driving and driving while disqualified. He escaped jail, but the Court placed Carney on a 12-month good behaviour order, banned him from driving until 2012, and sentenced him to 200 hours of community service. The Magistrate warned Carney that if he commits another offence he would "undoubtedly go to jail." Controversially, the Canberra Raiders club sacked Irwin (who was not charged with any offences) over the incident, but retained Carney. Carney was the Raiders' top try-scorer for the 2007 season.
Before the 2008 season, Carney began modelling his game on Johnathan Thurston in a bid to play representative football and was being personally coached by his life and childhood hero, Laurie Daley. His 2008 pre-season was eventful as he became the subject of a three way battle between Canberra, Manly and Penrith. Eventually he re-signed with the Raiders until 2010 with an option for a further two years. Off-field misbehaviour continued to plague Carney's playing career and, on 20 July 2008, it was alleged he urinated on a man at a Canberra nightclub. The man had to undertake counseling to overcome the trauma of the incident. Carney was suspended from participating in league matches and training while the allegations were investigated. The complaint was withdrawn two days later but Carney remained suspended for the round 21 match against the Gold Coast Titans. The nightclub allegations sparked renewed interest in Carney's 2007 negligent driving charges when Steve Irwin claimed that Carney was intoxicated whilst driving at the time of the 2007 incident but he had been pressured by the club to remain quiet in an attempt to avoid a jail sentence for Carney. The incident led to the club imposing an ultimatum on Carney which included a five-point plan, whereby Carney would have to stand down from training and matches for the rest of the season; go on an alcohol ban until the end of 2012; undergo counselling; complete a community service program; and pay a $20,000 fine. The NRL threatened to de-register his contract for two years if Carney did not accept this plan in order to protect the Raiders from losing him to another club. Carney asked for a variation of the plan where he could avoid points one and two. This was unacceptable to the club board. On 7 August 2008, the Canberra club sacked Carney and terminated his $400,000 a season contract. Carney was de-registered by the NRL and would not be eligible to compete in the competition until 2010. Carney attempted to follow ex-Dragon's coach Nathan Brown to Huddersfield on a one-year deal, but was unable to obtain a visa in late 2008 due to the drink driving offences.
Carney applied to the NRL in an effort to play for an Australian club in the 2009 season but in January the NRL stated that they would not accept registration of a contract for Todd Carney for that season. In February 2009, Carney went on a vandalism spree in Goulburn, jumping on a car bonnet and damaging the entrance to a Fone Zone store. He received a 12-month suspended jail sentence, and was ordered to undertake alcohol counselling. In March 2009, the Canberra Raiders agreed to release Carney to play for the Atherton Roosters in the Cairns competition, in Far North Queensland. Carney was assaulted by four men in Atherton on 10 May 2009, with one of those men former Cowboys player & current Broncos player Nick Slyney. Carney reportedly injured a man by setting his pants on fire in an incident on New Year's Eve. A man suffered burns to his buttock, scrotum and upper thighs after allegedly having his pants set alight while on holiday at Airlie Beach in Queensland. The police did not investigate the incident, with the man making no formal complaint. However this was not a good start to his Sydney Roosters career, after the club had just handed him a career lifeline by signing him to a three-year deal.
After his season-long ban from the NRL expired, Carney joined the Sydney Roosters for the 2010 NRL season. He played his first game for the club against his old team the Atherton Roosters in a pre-season trial in Atherton. After playing all of his football at Canberra in the halves he was shifted to fullback by Roosters coach Brian Smith. After his debut against South Sydney in a 36–10 victory, Carney was kept at fullback, only shifting into the halves to cover injuries or representative absentees until round 14 against the Melbourne Storm, when he was permanently switched to five-eighth, displacing captain Braith Anasta to lock. His switch to the halves was very successful, with the Roosters undertaking a five-game winning streak soon after the move. Carney formed an incisive attacking combination with his halves partner Mitchell Pearce and also been a facilitator to his outside backs, with Anthony Minichiello and Shaun Kenny Dowall in particular showing increased productivity. In addition, he had taken on the kicking duties for the Roosters scoring over 200 points. In the regular season, Carney finished second on the top point scorers and goal kickers lists. He was named as the season's Dally M Medallist for the NRL's best player. Carney also won five-eighth of the year and the Provan-Summons (Peoples Choice) award. He also received the Rugby League International Federation's international player of the year award for 2010. In December 2010, it was reported that Carney had injured himself after falling from his balcony while trying to gain entry to the building after locking himself out. He suffered no serious injuries. Carney dated Seven Network television presenter Liz Cantor; however, they broke up in January after 4 weeks.
At the end of his 2011 season he had played a total of 118 games, 115 club, 3 representative.
On 26 February 2011 it was reported that Carney will face a low-range drink driving charge. The Sydney Roosters confirmed that they would stand by him through this indiscretion. Just over a month later Carney was found to be involved with Anthony Watts when he was drinking on 16 April 2011. Following the second incident in three months, NRL management stood Carney down from Roosters indefinitely. Carney returned to the NRL with the round 10 clash against the Cronulla Sharks at Toyota Park, and was required to receive treatment for his behavioural issues. However, in early August, Carney together with Nate Myles and Frank-Paul Nuuausala broke a team agreement to not touch alcohol for two weeks and all three players were subject to disciplinary hearings. On 8 September 2011 it was announced that the Sydney Roosters would release Carney from the final year of his contract, following a request from Carney's management. Denied a working visa in the UK due to his criminal conviction, Carney's management was reportedly considering a contract with the French-based European Super League team, the Catalans, or current NRL side, North Queensland Cowboys.
bHowever, by 9 September 2011, both the Catalans and Cowboys had ruled out making a move to sign the controversial playmaker. By mid-October, there was further media speculation that Carney would be signed by the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks or the St George Illawarra Dragons. On 26 October 2011 it was announced that Carney had accepted a two-year contract with the Cronulla Sharks, estimated to be worth A$700,000.
Carney's first year at Cronulla was very good as he helped the side into the finals, however they were defeated by the Raiders in the Qualifying Finals. He was also selected to represent NSW in the annual State of Origin as five-eighth. Carney spent the off-season recovering from an achilles tendon tear, but despite an offer from NZ Warriors in January 2013, Carney signed up with the Sharks for an additional five years from 2013. On 29 June 2014 Carney was sacked by Cronulla due to a photograph leaked on social media in which he appears to urinate into his mouth. As he was on his last warning for behavioural issues, the NRL's Chief Operating Officer, Jim Doyle, said he "would be surprised if any club would show interest in signing him considering his chequered history and even if they did it was 'unlikely' the NRL would agree to register him".
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