Canberra: Ute saga back to bite Raiders

todd carney steve irwin canberra raiders police chase NRL 2007 It’s what many feared was true and now the man that took the fall in the Todd Carney ‘Ute’ Police chase saga; former player Steve Irwin has come forward to admit what really happened last year when Todd Carney was in strife over an alleged drink driving and Police pursuit situation.

It wasn’t hard for most people to put 2 and 2 together, Steve Irwin was merely a passenger in the vehicle as Todd Carney did his best to avoid Police. After the dust settled, it seemed odd that Irwin was the player sacked from the Canberra Raiders and Todd Carney was slapped on the wrists.

But the skeletons have come marching out of the Canberra closet after the latest Todd Carney incident; and the Raiders stand accused of formulating a cover-up that ultimately led to Irwin bending the truth to police to ensure prominent half-back Todd Carney was spared from a possible prison sentence.

After the latest Raiders incident with Todd Carney and Bronx Goodwin; sacked player Steve Irwin, has spoken out to reveal his part in the aftermath of the Carney Ute Pursuit last year which saw the players and the Raiders club splashed across the headlines.

Irwin was sacked in June 2007 after being merely a passenger in the Ute with Carney driving, as Police gave chase.

Irwin reported to Police that the driver, Carney, who was unlicenced, had not been drinking that day or night.

Carney was charged with driving unlicenced, but Irwin’s version of events saved Carney from DUI investigtions.

“Raiders officials asked me to say Carney wasn’t drunk and that would keep him out of jail,” Irwin said.

Canberra have obviously strongly denied the allegations; but by Irwin coming out of the closet it has thrust the heat squarely on Raiders officials.

It was something that crossed the minds of the NRL public at the time (the cover-up) – why was the bystander Steve Irwin thrust into the spotlight and suddenly sacked, while the instigator Carney; was spared?

“Canberra told me that I had to say to police that I asked Todd to drive. That was so he would only be charged with being unlicensed and wouldn’t go to jail.

“I was worried about Todd going to jail. They asked me to say he wasn’t pissed and that would keep him out of jail. Todd was begging me not to go to jail.

“He was sending SMS’s saying we have to stick to our story.

“They said to say he hadn’t been drinking. They were going to deduct me a day’s pay for drinking while injured. That was all.

“Three days later I was in a cafe being sacked. I lost a contract worth $80,000. The only option Canberra gave me was to play for (feeder club) Souths Logan.”

McIntyre was frustrated at Irwin’s claims.

“Absolute bloody rubbish,” McIntyre exclaimed.

“Irwin lacks credibility and discipline. That’s why he has retired from footy. Wynnum (in Brisbane) didn’t want him.”

Asked why Irwin would make such allegations, McIntyre said: “Because he’s dirty on us.”

Carney was unavailable on Wednesday for comment while his manager David Riolo did not return calls.

The Raiders are arranging an emergency board meeting this week to roundtable the situations at hand including; the Carney and Bronx Goodwin affair, who has been charged with two counts of assault following a fight, also outside All Bar Nun on Sunday night. And obviously this latest addition, with Irwin coming forward to tell his side of the story from last year.

Goodwin was summonsed to appear in ACT Magistrates with a hearing date to be determined.

Asked did Carney have a drinking problem, McIntyre said: “That’s putting it mildly. It certainly sounds like the case.

“Counselling is one option but I don’t want to pre-empt what the board and management will do.

“It is extremely disappointing. We were just starting to get some momentum and now this. It is certainly a dampener.

“We will sit down at the board meeting and look at the situation. We are very conscious of our responsibility to the game and the club.”

Canberra chief executive Don Furner stressed Goodwin and Carney would remain suspended pending the ongoing investigation.

“ACT policing has concluded their investigation in regards to the weekend’s incidents, and the Raiders will now begin deciding on a course of action internally,” Furner said.

“At this stage both Bronx and Todd will remain suspended by the club, and their futures will be decided following consultation with the Raiders board, coaching staff and playing group.

“The Raiders take the issue of off-field behaviour very seriously, and will assess the situation involving both Bronx and Todd before deciding on any further action.”

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