Carney’s NRL return hits roadblock
NRL bad boy Todd Carney has reportedly agreed to a new deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Cowboys are expected to announce the one-year deal as early as Wednesday if the NRL integrity unit approves the contract and believes Carney deserves yet another shot at playing football in the NRL.
The situation descended into drama on Tuesday morning when Cowboys feeder club Northern Pride claimed a contract had been lodged with the NRL - only for North Queensland and the NRL to deny a contract has been signed.
The Cowboys are reportedly in deep negotiations with the former Dally M player of the year star.
"We have had some discussions with Todd's manager but at this stage we haven't lodged any contract with the NRL," Cowboys football operations chief Peter Parr said.
"It could happen down the track but nothing has been signed or lodged at this stage. Todd is in our feeder system so we are exploring his options."
It followed reports Carney has already agrred to terms with the club and will sign a contract as early as Wednesday.
Carney on Monday night declared he wants to make a return to the NRL, insisting the game's bosses would see he's a changed man if given the chance.
Carney has returned to play for the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup this season, knocking back a million-dollar deal to stay in the English Super League with Hull KR.
The shift has put him one step closer to an NRL comeback, after the former NSW five-eighth left the league after being sacked by Cronulla and deregistered in 2014 for the infamous "bubbler" incident.
"That's one of the big reasons why I want to come back and play. Not to be remembered for the so-called bubbler," Carney said.
"I appreciate what I lost and what I had. To get that back would be a dream come true again. "For them (NRL bosses) to sit there in front of me and (let me) explain what's happened in the past four years and where I'm at, I'm pretty sure they would see it's a different Todd."
Carney's rap sheet includes repeated drink driving offences, including one instance where he was handed a suspended jail sentence for leading police on a chase before fleeing.
For a comeback to be considered, a club would have to apply to the NRL to register his contract - something chief executive Todd Greenberg claims is yet to have happened.
Regardless, Carney believes he can still match it in the NRL.
"I'm not going to blame it on being young, I was stupid," he said.
"I think I've become a better player, a smarter player. I definitely still believe I can handle the NRL.
Cowboys coach Paul Green said in December he would consider signing Carney.
"Like anyone who is in our feeder system, they have the opportunity to come through and play for the Cowboys.
"We weren't involved in the recruitment of Todd, that was a decision the Pride made.
"I wasn't personally consulted, they just signed him.
"Look, there would have to be a lot of water to go under the bridge, but I'll just pick the best players.
"I'd have to see where Todd is at, he would have to do a bit of training with us before I would even consider it.
"But the reality is he's in our system and that's how the feeder-club arrangement is designed to work."