HE'S BACK: Byron Bay captain-coach Todd Carney returns to the field in NRRRL this weekend.
HE'S BACK: Byron Bay captain-coach Todd Carney returns to the field in NRRRL this weekend. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

Former NRL star returns after devil of a time with injury

A FULLY fit Todd Carney will return for Byron Bay this weekend after six weeks on the sidelines in Ladbrokes Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.

The former NRL star has been nursing fractured ribs and has not played since they took on Jamie Lyon's Ballina on May 26.

Carney could have played against Evans Head last weekend and is determined for his side to put in a good performance against Cudgen on Sunday.

"I'd had cartilage injuries plenty of times but fractured ribs was a difficult one to manage," Carney said.

"I came back early against Ballina but it was too soon and I needed some more time to heal.

"I was going to play last weekend but we chose to hold off a bit longer so I'm definitely right to go now.

"It's obviously been frustrating to watch and this will probably be our biggest game of the season."

Carney will be straight back into a high pressure game which neither team can afford to lose.

The Red Devils are getting close to full strength and Carney is calling on a big crowd to help spur them on.

"It's always great for us as players to get as much support as we can with a vocal home crowd," he said.

"Our under-18s are equal first, the league tag girls are in the finals mix and our reserve grade are improving, there is a lot to like about where the club is going."

The Red Devils have a tough run home.

It could come down to the final game of the season when they host Ballina to determine if they play finals or not.

Five-eighth Ben Webber is back on deck after a long-term injury.

Carney is finally getting the team he wants back on the paddock despite another injury setback.

"We've lost Gabriel Belcher for the rest of the season which is really disappointing for him," Carney said.

"The boys have been playing well lately and it's great to have Ben Webber back on deck.

Games start on Sunday at Red Devil Park from 10.45am with first grade kick-off at 2.45pm.

 

LADDER

  • Ballina 22
  • Murwillumbah 22
  • Casino 18
  • Tweed Coast 16
  • Cudgen 15
  • Byron Bay 15
  • Kyogle 14
  • Northern United 12
  • Mullumbimby 10
  • Marist Brothers 8
  • Evans Head 2.