Wee mistake: Sacked Cronulla star Todd Carney. Photo: Getty Images
Todd Carney has lodged an official appeal over his sacking from Cronulla last weekend and claims two members of the Sharks board were not even consulted before the decision was made.
Carney's agent, David Riolo, wrote to the NRL on Friday accusing the Sharks of failing to follow the process for dealing with disciplinary issues outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between the NRL and the Rugby League Players' Association.
Riolo also said Cronulla officials did not have the courtesy to advise Carney that his $3.5 million, five-year contract had been terminated before issuing a media release to announce the star five-eighth had been sacked.
"Todd was on long-term contract at the Sharks and he got fired by a phone call, which ironically came after the press release had already been sent out, and also still hasn't received any written notification five days later of a breach notice or even a termination," Riolo told Triple M.
"There are things within the NRL contract, a process that needs to be followed, and it is clear as day what you have to do, and that is send a breach notice. That then gives the player five days' notice to attend to that and appear before the board.
"None of this has been followed and he has just been treated with complete disrespect. Regardless of the issue, I think everyone deserves a fair hearing. I think Todd would have been able to get a better hearing from a group and a board by being able to front them. I have actually been told from two members of the board who have personally approached me that they weren't even consulted on this, which amazes me."
The Sharks announced Carney's sacking at about 6.30pm last Sunday – less than 24 hours after a vulgar photo of the former NSW Origin five-eighth was posted on Twittter at about 10.45 the night before.
Despite mid-afternoon reports that the Cronulla chairman Damian Keogh and other directors had decided to sack Carney during a phone hook-up, Riolo said Sharks chief executive Steve Noyce told Carney just before the media release was issued that no decision would be made until Monday. He also revealed that Carney's teammates had been "gagged" from commenting on his sacking.
"There were all different things being said and being leaked from their board and allegedly from their chairman," Riolo said. "I know different board members spoke to people in the press to say he was gone, it was on Twitter that he was gone but Steve Noyce was assuring me that wasn't the case and that a decision would be made later in the day. Steve Noyce spoke to Todd in the evening and effectively said 'we will sleep on it', and within 20 minutes there was an email gone around to the players that there was a big announcement coming and none of them were allowed to comment, so they were effectively gagging the players.
"Five minutes later there was a press release and some time after that we were notified that he had been sacked. Surely common courtesy is to let the player and his agent know before the press release."
Riolo also said Noyce should not have been involved after previously sacking Carney from the Sydney Roosters when he was chief executive of the club in 2011.
"I like Steve Noyce, he is a good guy, but I really think he should have stepped back and let the board take care of this, especially given his history in regards to Todd. I don't think he was the right person to be making this decision, and yet him and the chairman have made this decision together,'' he said.
''That is fine, they have to live with that but they also have a process to follow and if they came up with that decision after following the process then I couldn't really argue, but I am not really happy with how this has been handled. I still find it hard to fathom that a professional club still hasn't given any paperwork over five days later when they could quite easily write a press release and put that out."