Todd Carney has signed with the Northern Pride.
Todd Carney has signed with the Northern Pride. DAN HIMBRECHTS

'It's about doing what's best for you'

TODD Carney says the prospect of remaining on the doorstep of the NRL while having the opportunity to look beyond his football career made the Northern Pride's offer "too good to refuse".

The 31-year-old could have chased millions in England but said he didn't see his three-year deal to play Intrust Super Cup as a sacrifice, more a step in the right direction as he moves into the twilight on his on-field career.

"I don't really believe you can talk about it as a sacrifice. It's about doing what's best for you," Carney (pictured) said.

"I feel it's going to keep pushing me in the right direction. I've still got a lot to learn and as a player I've still got a lot to give."

The former Raiders, Roosters and Sharks NRL half, who has returned to Australia after stints with Catalans and Salford, said he was quietly confident the Far North would support him, just as it did in 2009.

Carney played a season for the Atherton Roosters after the Raiders sacked him for multiple alcohol-related incidents and said he was indebted to Barron Valley Hotel publican Mick Nasser for helping put his football career back on track.

He guided the Sydney Roosters to the NRL grand final the next season and moved to the Sharks, before the infamous "bubbling" incident forced him overseas.

But Carney said he had left his mistakes behind and after three seasons in England, was determined to show he still had plenty to give in rugby league and still had dreams of returning to the NRL.

"If an NRL club wanted me it's definitely something I'd look at and Greg (Dowling, Pride CEO) said he would support me if that happened," he said.

Pride utility Colin Wilkie, who played junior football with Carney, was the key to the deal after being convinced he could play a major role in the club's revival after their worst season in their history.

"I didn't know whether I'd go to England or the NRL and then I got in touch with Col Wilkie and I got in contact with Greg and it rolled on from there," he said.

"Col and I have talked about the young group they have and the need for someone with an older head and I think I can do that."

Carney said he had an offer to return to the Far North, as a player-coach at his former club Atherton, prior to the Pride expressing their interest.

While hoping to make an impact on the field, he will also look to earn his coaching stripes, working closely with the club's under-20s and under-18s programs, but said first his focus was

"I like that side of it and I guess it might be surprising to some people who don't know me but people who know me and have spent a bit of time around me know I have a pretty good understanding of the game ... and I eventually will look to get into the coaching ranks," he said.

"First and foremost I'm here to play good football."

Carney has spent most of his time at five-eighth since 2010, but could well end up in the No.7 at the Pride in 2018.

News Corp Australia


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