Todd Carney ... was spotted with Raiders players at The Lighthouse hotel after the club's presentation night. Photo: Simon Alekna
SYDNEY ROOSTERS will have no issue with five-eighth Todd Carney playing in the NRL next year, although NRL chief executive, David Gallop, said he still needed to be convinced the troubled star, who was yesterday released by the club, would not re-offend.
Gallop will seek a meeting with Carney should he decide he wants to play in the competition again - and importantly find a club ready to back him - after he parted ways with the Roosters yesterday in a decision described as a ''mutual agreement''.
Gallop preferred not to speculate on the likelihood of Carney, who had been suspended by the club for breaking a team alcohol ban, being registered to play again, but will take some convincing, given he met with the five-eighth after he was sacked by Canberra and allowed him to sign with the Roosters.
''If another club looked to sign him, we would want to sit down with that club and Todd, and understand what their plans are to keep him out of the spotlight off the field,'' Gallop said last night. ''That doesn't necessarily mean alcohol bans, but it does mean coming up with a plan where he's not going to make promises that he can't keep, and bring attention to himself.
''Given Todd's history, and the steps we've taken in the past with him, it would be prudent for us to continue to be involved in any ongoing place he has in the game.''
Gallop holds the key to Carney's future, at least his domestic one, provided the former Test player can convince a club he is worth backing.
The Herald has been told his preference is to remain in the NRL, and he will explore every avenue before heading overseas.
There had been speculation Carney would play with French Super League club Catalans next season. However, their coach, Trent Robinson, who was Brian Smith's assistant at the Roosters last season, said last night he would not be signing him.
''Todd is someone I had the pleasure of coaching. I've talked to him, but more as a friend. We're not in a position to sign Todd,'' Robinson said last night.
Whether he can find another NRL club remains to be seen. His former club Canberra, whose chairman John McIntyre had expressed a desire to bring home a rehabilitated Carney, have already ruled themselves out of making a pitch for him, as have Cronulla.
The Herald contacted a number of other clubs last night and while some said salary cap pressures would prevent them signing him next season, others made it clear his off-field problems were too much of a risk.
One official gave an indication of the battle ahead for Carney when asked whether he would consider offering him a lifeline. ''When hell freezes over,'' he said.
The Roosters had been expected to sack Carney for the last of his many alcohol-related misdemeanours, having handed him a breach notice and demanding he front the club board, but curiously said in a statement the decision was mutual.
''Following a request from Todd Carney and his manager David Riolo, the Sydney Roosters have agreed today to release Todd from the final year of his contract with the club,'' the statement read.
''This outcome has been mutually agreed and we believe it is the best result for all parties. We wish Todd well in his future endeavours.''