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Carney eyes legal action as four others sue Sharks

Legal path: Todd Carney was denied an opportunity to speak to the Sharks board before his contract was terminated, says his manager David Riolo.

Legal path: Todd Carney was denied an opportunity to speak to the Sharks board before his contract was terminated, says his manager David Riolo. Photo: Getty Images

Todd Carney is considering legal action against Cronulla in a move that could add to the four lawsuits already slated for the courtroom against the embattled club this month.

Carney has engaged the Rugby League Players' Association to assist in the matter after he was sacked over the publication of a photo of him in a lewd act in a pub toilet. The disgraced pivot believes the correct protocols weren't followed before his $3 million-plus contract was terminated. The first step in the process is for the case to be heard by an NRL appeals committee. But the matter could end up in the courts if arbitration fails.

The Sharks are already bracing for courtroom dramas. Civil actions by three former players - Isaac Gordon, Josh Cordoba and Broderick Wright - in relation to the club's controversial supplements program of 2011, are scheduled for pretrial conferences in the district court on July 16. Five days later, sports scientist Stephen Dank's legal team will appeal against Justice Lucy McCallum's previous decision to dismiss a defamation case against Cronulla that forced the plaintiff to pay costs. If Dank's appeal is successful, it's believed the matter will be heard immediately.

Carney wanted the right to front the Sharks board, while his agent, David Riolo, believes CEO Steve Noyce should not have been involved after previously sacking him when the pair were at the Roosters in 2011.

While the players' association  CEO David Garnsey is a lawyer, the players' union does not give individual legal or contract advice. However, they can assist Carney in finding the right representation and also ensuring his welfare needs are met.

"We provide all our members with support when it's required and certainly Todd is a member," an RLPA spokesman said.

"We will provide welfare and other advice as it's requested. But the details of what that advice is is confidential between us and the player involved."

Riolo claimed two members of the Sharks board were not consulted before the decision was made, that his client was not contacted before a media release announced the sacking and that they had still received no paperwork following the termination.

"I understand and respect that Dave's sole job is to look after Todd," Noyce told Triple M's Deadset Legends program.

"Equally, I have a job to uphold the values and the culture of the Sharks. Clearly there is a disagreement over how the process was handled. No one seemed to mind when I shook hands with David and Todd to make him the highest-paid player in the history of the Sharks ... We'll all sit down with the NRL and look to resolve any disagreement."

When asked how far he could push the legal issue, Riolo told Fairfax Media on Saturday that he would not discuss details about the action until Carney's appeal was heard.

"It's not going to be played out in the media," he said. "We've gone through the process where we've followed the right rules and we've gone to the NRL and sought leave to the NRL's appeal committee.

"Until they come back to us, I'm not going to hypothesise - all I can do is follow the rules."

It has been a trying week for the Sharks after caretaker Peter Sharp sensationally quit. The dramas come as Cronulla braces for Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to issue show-cause notices to 17 players, five who are still present, from its 2011 roster. Cronulla has already ruled out following the lead of AFL club Essendon, which is taking Federal Court action against ASADA.

with Daniel Lane

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