Todd Carney won’t be returning to the NRL with North Queensland after he abruptly quit the club on Tuesday.
Todd Carney won’t be returning to the NRL with North Queensland after he abruptly quit the club on Tuesday.

Carney returning to Sydney on ‘indefinite leave’

TODD Carney's quest to join the North Queensland Cowboys is over with the Northern Pride recruit to return home this week to be close to an ailing family member.

A heartbroken Carney addressed the Pride playing group at training overnight, declaring he would be taking indefinite leave from the club.

It is uncertain if or when the former Dally M medallist will rejoin the team.

Pride chairman Tony Williamson said the star recruit had played a vital role in mentoring the club's young playing group.

"Todd has been outstanding for us. He'll be sorely missed by the playing group," Williamson said.

Todd Carney at a Northern Pride press conference at Barlow Park, Cairns. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Todd Carney at a Northern Pride press conference at Barlow Park, Cairns. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

"To have an Australian representative at the Pride was unprecedented. But at the end of the day rugby league is just a sport.

"We're disappointed but we've got to think of Todd's welfare. He's got to go.

"Football is the last thing on his mind right now. I don't think the last eight weeks has been easy.

"I think seeing his mum in Sydney last week brought everything home for him."

Todd Carney (right) in action for the Northern Pride. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Todd Carney (right) in action for the Northern Pride. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Pride coach Ty Williams said he had spoken to Carney on multiple occasion in recent weeks about the possibility of him returning to Sydney to be closer to his family.

"Todd and I have struck up a pretty good relationship while he's been here," Williams said.

"He spoke to me late last week and I said I'd back him no matter what. I think he's made the right decision for his family.

"We support him on and off the field. He's been massive for us … he's put us in a good position for the next six months of the competition.

Pride coach Ty Williams at training. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE
Pride coach Ty Williams at training. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE


Asked if Carney would play in the NRL again, Williams said: "I hope so but that's not his priority right now."

"The door on him (playing NRL) hasn't been closed. It's personal thing (he's leaving for)."

The former NRL star inked a three-year deal with the Pride in October last year before landing in the Far North in November.

Since returning to Australia, the talented five-eighth, who played for Salford Red Devils in the British Super League last year, has courted interest from at least two NRL teams as he launched an ambitious bid to return to the top-flight competition.