With Mitchell Pearce already locked up and Braith Anasta ready to move to lock – the Roosters will possess a daunting array of playmakers for next season, with veteran Anthony Minichiello likely to lose his spot in the musical chairs as his contract expires at years end.
It’s believed Todd Carney will immediately slot into five-eighth and could also rotate into the first receiver role to take the pressure of Pearce when needed.
Reports in the media today suggest Carney and the Roosters reached an agreement several weeks ago, but have chosen to keep details quiet. The Roosters apparently wanting to see how he goes ‘on the wagon’ for a period before accepting the signature.
Given his marching orders by the Raiders last year after several of alcohol-fuelled incidents, Carney is in NRL exile this season after copping a ban from the governing body. He accepted an invitation from a Queensland Bush-based side the Atherton Roosters to play this year and keep some sort of fitness levels up while he awaits reinstatement.
It’s believed that Carney headed to the Queensland bush outfit with the knowledge his NRL future for 2010 and beyond was already setup after negotiating with the Roosters some weeks ago through manager David Riolo.
While nothing is signed just yet, both Carney and the Roosters have agreed in principle to a 4-year deal that will lock the pivot into the Bondi club until 2013.
The crux of the deal revolving around Carney’s rehabilitation in Atherton over the next 4 weeks, prior to signing and the situation announced to the public.
Neither the Roosters recruitment manager or Carney’s agent would confirm any details of the move thats been kept very quiet in the past few weeks.
For the Penrith Panthers, they again lose the chance to sign Carney. They were originally in the running to get the five-eighth before he resigned with Canberra early in the the 2008 season. At the time, new Panthers coach Matt Elliott trumpeting the fact he could lure Carney to Penrith – but he was ultimately beaten by incumbent Raiders coach Neil Henry who managed to talk Carney into staying in the ACT.
The Panthers got a second shot at Carney after he was banned from the NRL this year and they were one of a few clubs chasing his signature – the Panthers have now confirmed they were now looking elsewhere after the Roosters got the nod from Carney.
“We were in there with the best of them,” Panthers GM Mick Leary said.
“As far as I knew we’d matched the dollars other clubs had put up but I haven’t spoken to his manager David Riolo for about a month. We were keen to obtain a new halfback but I’m sure there will be other opportunities that present themselves.”
With the Roosters shelling out big money to lure Carney, it seems highly likely Minichiello and possibly Setaimata Sa will be hard to retain when their contracts expire at the end of this season.