OPINION | National Rugby League should extend red carpet to Todd Carney

Todd Carney is on the precipice of making his long-awaited return to the National Rugby League.

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It’s a case of the thirty-one year old being in the right place at the right time with Trent Barrett’s Manly Sea-Eagles looking at their halfback options after missing out on Mitchell Pearce and releasing Blake Green to New Zealand Warriors.  The only player in Carney’s way of earning a contract is Trent Hodgkinson, linked with a return to Brookvale.

The governing body said that Carney would need to demonstrate that he’s a reformed man, worthy of returning to our game. A desperate Manly would bend over backwards to make sure they proved to the NRL that he was fit to be part of our game.

Yes, Carney was the bad boy of the game with a string of off-field police matters and bad behaviour.  Rightly he lost the right to play NRL. Effectively Carney had to go abroad to save his career through Super League club Catalans Dragons, and more recently a short stint with Salford Red Devils.

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There’s no doubt in my mind that Carney should be given approval to resume his career in Australia.  Time will tell if the 2010 Dally M Award winner can keep out of trouble.  Hopefully he’s pondered and regretted his past misdemeanours, living a lonely existence in Super League.

Look at the recent administrative decisions made about other players.  Many are questioning why there’s so much scrutiny over Carney’s return compared with the perceived relaxed treatment by the NRL in relation to Matt Lodge after Brisbane signed the controversial forward in November.

Perhaps the Broncos ticked all the boxes to allow Lodge to return but the fact remains that in a game that is commercially trying to lift the profile of women it still feels a dumb move.  It was not a good news story.

Todd Carney’s return too may not be a good news story but surely a three-year exile from the NRL is enough punishment?

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