TODD CARNEY would not have played again in the finals series had Cronulla won yesterday. He has a suspected tear to the Achilles tendon in his right foot, which, if scans to be taken today confirm it, will mean he requires an operation.
''It looks like he might have a tear to his Achilles, that's what we're thinking,'' Sharks club doctor David Givney said after Carney was carried off in the elimination final against Canberra. ''If it's a tear, he'll need surgery. It's a 12-to-16 week recovery for most people, so he'll be back by the start of next season.''
Carney was carried off by trainers in the 48th minute, just as the Sharks were scoring a try that was converted to cut Canberra's lead to 16-12.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said of Carney: ''He strained his Achilles late in that game last week [against North Queensland]. He's had hamstring complaints since Origin.''
But the coach wasn't using Carney's demise as an excuse for the 34-16 loss, adding: ''Twelve errors conceding possession - that's not like us. In the end that killed us - 59 per cent completion rate. Gal [captain Paul Gallen] has not trained one session since Origin because of his knee, but we put our best team out there today and we got beat.''
Canberra second-rower Josh Papalii did his best to unsettle Gallen during the game. ''I wouldn't say it was a running battle,'' Gallen said. ''He hit me high once which was a penalty and once without the ball in the back. He did well not to get penalised on the second one too. They obviously had a plan to target me.''
When told Raiders captain David Shillington had said of Papalii's targeting of Gallen that Gallen ''didn't really handle it very well'', Gallen and Flanagan shot back sharply.
''He can say what he wants, I don't care. We're out of the comp,'' Gallen said. Flanagan added: ''I know who'd win that battle. You can throw Shillo in with Papalii as well.''
Gallen had the final word: ''I really don't care about Papalii. Like I said, he hit me a dog shot with a swinging arm and once in the back without the ball. Other than that I don't think there was too much to it.''