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Canberra Raiders' plan could have helped dumped Cronulla star Todd Carney, says Alan Tongue

Todd Carney leaves Raiders HQ after being sacked in 2008.

Todd Carney leaves Raiders HQ after being sacked in 2008. Photo: Andrew Taylor

Sacked Cronulla star Todd Carney could have been one of the game's greats had he accepted Canberra's offer to help him beat his alcohol demons, former Raiders captain Alan Tongue says.

Tongue, skipper when the Raiders dumped the wayward playmaker for a series of misdemeanours in 2008, said he ''only has himself to blame'' for the moment of madness that has jeopardised his NRL career.

The Sharks became the third club to tear up Carney's contract after a lewd picture of the 28-year-old in a nightclub toilet surfaced on social media on Saturday night.

Carney and Alan Tongue during happier days together at the Raiders.

Carney and Alan Tongue during happier days together at the Raiders. Photo: Glen McCurtayne

Carney was given his marching orders by Canberra after he refused to commit to a five-point behaviour plan, including a booze ban, at a board meeting. 

"The game has done so much for him at the moment, I just don't know what more you can do,'' Tongue said on Monday. 

"I know at the Raiders the senior leadership group and others in the organisation were doing absolutely everything they could to try and make him a better person. 

"Unfortunately, alcohol has been his enemy. The only person he's got to blame is himself. 

"It's going to be a huge missed opportunity and wasted talent.'' 

Tongue said Carney's troubled career could have taken a different path had he taken on board the club's willingness to get his off-field life back on track. 

Carney was de-registered by the NRL in 2009 and played park football in Queensland, before winning the Dally M Medal as the game's best player with the Sydney Roosters in 2010. One year later, he was punted by the Roosters for breaking their alcohol rules, before linking with the Sharks in 2012.

"I remember watching him as a young kid coming in, he was something really special,'' Tongue said. 

"We got to see glimpses of that like that season in 2010. He could have gone down as one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

"To tell a young guy to give up the drink when there's other clubs screaming for your signature, it would have been a big decision for him to make and he didn't want to commit to that. 

"Unfortunately, the reason he didn't commit was because he couldn't uphold it and he's gone and done it [transgressed] elsewhere. 

''Footy has been his safety net and set him on the straight and narrow as much as you could, but the game can't babysit you forever. You have to make your own decisions.''

The Raiders have since sacked fellow representative stars Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson and Joel Monaghan for alcohol-related transgressions. 

But Tongue said Carney's axing hurt the club more. 

"The Raiders knew they had something special and it set them back – match-winning halfbacks are as rare as hen's teeth,'' Tongue said. 

"But I'm proud of the club's stance. We had to take it because, if we didn't, it would have damaged the Raiders' brand.

"We were hoping it would help him in the long term, knowing he couldn't away with everything, and people at the club have been criticised for it. 

"I know, being in the situation and helping out, we did absolutely everything we could.''

Former Raiders chairman John McIntyre rubber-stamped Carney's axing and said he felt for those who had helped him develop. 

"They [Sharks] had no option and the people at the Roosters must have had the patience of Job,'' McIntyre said. 

"We were patient because we developed the kid and we were looking after not just the football player and the individual as a person; you were thinking about the kick in the guts to those people in Goulburn. 

"The devastating part is you feel for the volunteers who put all their hard work into developing a talent like Todd Carney and this happens.''

Asked if he wished Carney had taken their guidelines on board, McIntyre said: "Of course we wish that, that's human nature.

"It's what you would describe as 'motherhood' type rules on living a proper, disciplined life and I suspect it's a similar code which was put in place at the Roosters and Cronulla. 

"We make those difficult decisions with a great deal of deliberation, a great deal of thought and compassion.''  

Four Nations 2014

Round 1
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
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Round 2
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
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Final
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
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Four Nations 2014
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
England 3 1 2 0 0 2
Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
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