Carney: Dreams Do Come True

Dreams do come true … just ask Dally M winner Todd Carney as he prepares for next weekend’s Telstra Premiership Grand Final following a fairytale return from NRL exile, matched only by his club’s resurrection from winning the 2009 wooden spoon. <br><br> The Roosters’ resounding 32-6 win over the Gold Coast Titans in the Preliminary Final at Suncorp Stadium last night puts Carney and the Roosters just one win away from a miraculous turnaround for both parties. <br><br> Just 12 months ago Carney was completing his year-long exile from the NRL playing park football in far north Queensland (and losing their grand final) and the Roosters had “won” the wooden spoon, while off-field they had earned themselves the “Bondi bad boys” tag. <br><br> Already this season’s efforts have been recognised with their Dally M captain, coach overall and positional wins … but a 13th premiership for the club and the first for evergreen coach Brian Smith would be the ultimate dream come true. <br><br> But no fairytale is without drama … with Carney facing an agonising wait until Monday to learn if he can play in the decider against the winner of tonight’s clash between the Dragons and Wests Tigers after he was placed on report for a high tackle on Titans half Scott Prince in the 37th minute. <br><br> Fortunately Carney has no carry-over baggage which could save him if he cops a low grade charge; but he will miss the Grand Final if he incurs more than 100 penalty points. <br><br><br />After the match, in front of a crowd of 44,787, Carney was ecstatic about the opportunity to play in his first NRL Grand Final. <br><br> “It’s a dream come true … I’ve never been a happier person in my whole life,” Carney told the Nine Network. <br><br> The Roosters now have a chance to become the first team since Western Suburbs in 1934 to go from wooden spooners to premiers the following season and finally end veteran coach Brian Smith's title drought. <br><br> Smith is third in NRL experience (matches coached) behind the Tigers’ Tim Sheens and the Dragons’ Wayne Bennett – one of whom he will face in next week’s Grand Final. <br><br> But unlike his Grand Final rival(s), he has yet to win a Premiership, losing in his three Grand Final appearances (1992-93 and 2001); while Bennett has won six premierships (all with the Broncos) and Sheens has won four (three with the Raiders and one with the Tigers). <br><br> Smith was clearly thrilled with last night’s victory but said “celebrations will be real brief” as he now starts preparations for next Sunday’s Grand Final at ANZ Stadium. <br><br> Veteran Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello was happy to have helped the Roosters into a fifth grand final since 2000 – but their first since losing to captain Braith Anasta's Bulldogs in 2004. <br><br> "There again, it's a great feeling," Minichiello told the Nine Network. "It's a great bunch of guys. We're building to something special. <br><br> "We believed that we can win the comp from day one of pre-season if we put everything together and it's come together nicely for us."