It seems the Wests Tigers are preparing for life after Benji Marshall as they prepare to launch a bid for Todd Carney in 2010 – or possibly sooner, should Carney decide to fight his de-registration from the game.
As the Tigers replace Steve Noyce with Scott Longmuir, the new boss confirmed on Friday that the Wests Tigers had been in touch with Carneys management.
After being deregistered by the NRL mid-way through this year – apparently Carney will fight for a 2009 return if his visa to play in England is blocked.
When sacked, Carney linked with the Huddersfield Giants in the UK Super League – signing a 1 year deal to tie him over until allowed to continue NRL employment in 2010.
But continued problems with his English visa have kept Carney in Australia while Huddersfield began pre-season training on Dec 1st.
Carney’s agent David Riolo confirmed his player would seek to fight to the NRL ban should visa problems persist.
“Our first priority is for Todd to play in Huddersfield, where he has signed next year,” Riolo said.
“But if he doesn’t get his visa, then he can’t work in England. If that were to be the case we’d certainly be willing to go back to the NRL to argue his case for registration in 2009.
“Todd is a professional footballer – this is his career.”
Saddened by the death of his father Daryl in Goulburn on Friday, Carney was unavailable for comment. Riolo confirmed there are several clubs on the hunt for Carney -Â the Tigers chasing his signature confirms they are looking for alternative options should Benji Marshall leave at the end of 2009.
“There have been initial discussions with the Tigers for 2010 and beyond,” Riolo said.
“(Coach) Tim Sheens has talked about using Benji (Marshall) there, but we’ve got to look at all the options.”
The Tigers are still in the process of trying to re-sign Marshall, who is off-contract at the end of next season and firmly in the sights of cashed-up European rugby clubs.
Longmuir refused to speculate on whether the club could afford to have both playmakers. “It’s too early to comment on that, but we are hoping to have Benji’s future sorted before the start of the season,” he said.