Todd Carney in action for the Northern Pride. Picture: Brendan Radke
Todd Carney in action for the Northern Pride. Picture: Brendan Radke

Surprise league lifeline for Todd Carney

GOULBURN once banished Todd Carney from entering his home town, now his junior club is offering him a lifeline.

On a day when Cronulla's feeder club Newtown knocked back a request for Carney to relaunch his career, Goulburn Workers Bulldogs club president Joe Stephens said they'd happily discuss a homecoming for the NRL discard.

Stephens' Carney offer comes nine years after the former Dally M Medal was banned from living in Goulburn for 12 months.

The then 22-year-old was arrested and charged after CCTV footage captured him and another man damaging a car on February 28, 2009.

Carney was handed a custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and also made to agree he will not live in Goulburn over that period.

Almost a decade on, Stephens has refused to rule out giving the former Raiders, Roosters and Sharks playmaker a reprieve.

"If Todd Carney wanted to come home and play for Goulburn, we would sit down and have a conversation with him for sure," Stephens said.

Todd Carney has quit the Northern Pride. Picture: Anna Rogers
Todd Carney has quit the Northern Pride. Picture: Anna Rogers

"Our cap is on a points system, but Todd would come back to us as a zero player because he is a local junior."

Goulburn's interest in Carney comes as CRL officials said they would have to consult the NRL before giving any deal the green light.

The playmaker's manager David Riolo confirmed country football could be an option, but stressed family was his immediate priority.

Carney's mother is ill, prompting him to cut short his three-year deal with North Queensland's feeder club - the Northern Pride.

The former Dally M Medallist reportedly told Northern Pride teammates on Tuesday night that he would be taking indefinite leave due to personal reasons.

Despite this family setback, it's understood Carney hasn't given up on a return to the NRL or rugby league at some level.

Illawarra District Manager Chris Bannerman said he would also welcome Carney to his competition if a club expressed interest.

"It's certainly not out of the question, but it would have to be approved by the CRL," Bannerman said.

"I think he (Todd) would be in the same boat as someone like Paul Carter at Cessnock.

"If the CRL were happy to register him, then I'm sure there would be a number of clubs that would consider taking him on."