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In Touch: Roosters can't save Carney

Leila McKinnon, Channel 9 NRL.com Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 8:00 AM

Roosters can't save Todd Carney says NRL.com columnist Leila McKinnon Copyright: NRL Photos

I don't understand addiction or psychology and that's why I'm not going to add to the thousands of opinions that have been ventured about Todd Carney breaching a club alcohol ban last week. 

Carney has admitted he has a problem with alcohol, and in February this year spoke about undergoing counselling and rehabilitation. I have no idea how hard he's been working at it, and I don't know how difficult it's been, and continues to be.

What I do know about alcoholism is that there is no easy solution. Those who are successful in tackling their addiction work at it for the rest of their lives, many of them with the encouragement and understanding of a group of fellow addicts. The Sydney Roosters can't save him. 

Of course, a football club is more than just a business, and I have no doubt that the chairman, the board members, and many of the players will always help support Carney no matter what lies ahead.

But for the sake of the team, the fans, and the future of the club, those in charge have to decide whether or not Carney’s talents are worth the risks and the effort involved in dealing with a player with such a challenging problem. 

The decision on whether to drop him can't be made out of fear of what effect it may have on him psychologically or financially. It doesn't matter what the club does; ultimately Todd will decide his own future.

The situation with Frank-Paul Nu'uausala and Nate Myles is much simpler. That two teammates, and presumably friends, of Todd Carney would go out drinking with him is baffling. 

Everyone with an interest in NRL knows about his struggles with alcohol. Maybe his drinking buddies just don't appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Maybe they don't care about him. 

And what of the rest of their teammates?  Everyone on that team made a pact not to drink for two weeks. Captain Braith Anasta thought it might help them prepare for their next two games. If Nu'uausala and Myles didn't agree they should have said so at the time. Instead they treated their captain and their fellow players with disdain. 

It would have been a breach of trust if they had snuck a quiet drink at home. What's worse, they went to the Golden Sheaf in Double Bay and the Courthouse Hotel in Darlinghurst - two of the most prominent pubs in the Eastern Suburbs. 

Even without the cab driver blowing their cover, there's no question their big night out would have been exposed. They may as well have taken a bottle of vodka to training and told Anasta to jam his captaincy up his fundament.

That Nate Myles is leaving this year and joining the Titans makes no difference to me. For his own pride he should still be giving the Roosters 100 per cent. If I were a Titans player or supporter that's the kind of person I would want joining my team. If I were Nate Myles, that's the kind of person I would want to be.

Sure, it was only a few drinks, and no one broke any laws, but it's a question of loyalty. A team operates best when players love, trust and respect each other; when they know each other so well that they play on instinct, subconsciously aware of what any other team member will do at any time. When that happens their individual talents are lifted to another level; it's a kind of magic.

Nu'uausala and Myles are said to be remorseful and hopefully they can learn from what was a stupid mistake. If only Carney's situation were as easily solved.