Carney 'ready' for NRL return, says Pride coach
Former NSW five-eighth Todd Carney is ready to make a comeback to the NRL if he can sign a deal with the North Queensland Cowboys, according to his Intrust Super Cup coach.
The Cowboys are expected to address speculation surrounding Carney joining the club on Tuesday afternoon after multiple media reports that the Northern Pride playmaker would be signed to a one-year deal.
NRL.com understands Carney did some testing in the past fortnight with high-performance boss Paul Bowman at Cowboys headquarters and had extensive one-on-one discussions with coach Paul Green.
NRL.com has learned the Cowboys board also discussed whether to go ahead with signing Carney last week and ticked off on it.
Northern Pride coach Ty Williams said he could not comment on whether Carney would join the Cowboys but did say he had been "ticking all the right boxes" in his endeavours to get back in the NRL.
"Todd has done everything possible to get himself ready for the NRL and he knows that this is the last chance for him," Williams told NRL.com.
"He’s had a very good attitude here at the Northern Pride. He comes with a fair bit of baggage as everyone knows, but the way he has conducted himself publicly and with the playing group has been outstanding.
"He’s done a lot of working teaching our younger players and with the leadership group, while not losing sight of the fact that he needs to keep improving as well."
A spokesman for the NRL said no contract had been lodged to register Carney in the NRL.
"If a contract is lodged we will consider it on its merits," the spokesman said.
"Any club seeking to register him would need to demonstrate what changes he has made to his life since he was previously in the NRL.
"We would need to be convinced that he is fit and proper to be part of the NRL."
Carney, who has played trials this pre-season, has been named to play for the Northern Pride in the opening round of the Intrust Super Cup on Saturday night in Cairns against Wynnum-Manly
"The next month for Todd is going to be massive whether he is signed or not by the Cowboys because if he wants to get back playing in the NRL he has to be playing some good football," Williams said.
"If he does go to the Cowboys and gets back in a full-time system I think he can still make a difference.
"Physically they will need to work on some things with him but mentally Todd has still got it. The culture and attitude at the Cowboys will suit him."
Carney, if signed by the Cowboys, will play for the Northern Pride when not required for NRL duty.
The Pride signed Carney on a three-year deal in the off-season and he has a clause in his contract allowing him to go to a Telstra Premiership club should he be able to strike a deal.
Cowboys coach Paul Green will address the Carney issue at a press conference this afternoon in Townsville but NRL.com was told that until such time the club was not commenting on the matter.