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TODD CARNEY

has played a crucial role in the Roosters’ stellar turnaround this season which has seen the tricolours rocket from last year’s wooden spooners to being a major force in 2010. Since his return from NRL exile, Carney has set the competition alight with a new attitude; using his amazing speed and creativity to develop one of the deadliest combinations in the league with halves’ partner Mitchell Pearce. Though he began the year as fullback, Carney has made the number “6” his own and looks set to dominate the competition for years to come. RLP caught up with him after the Roosters’ epic 100 minute victory over West’s Tigers to see what life’s been like for the new Todd Carney. RLP: You’ve had a troubled past but you seem to have made some big changes. Exactly what are they? TODD: I’m probably just not taking Rugby League for granted anymore; giving it all I’ve got, and training hard. I’m showing more professionalism since I gave up the drink in January. They’re probably the big things. RLP: You now have a close friendship with Mitchell Pearce. How has he helped you this year? TODD: Yeah Mitchell’s a great player. I loved watching him and now I love playing with him. His professionalism, as a footballer, is second to none and he’s a master of the game. He lives and breathes it and since I’ve come to the club I feel I’ve learnt a lot off him. He’s a great competitor, a great talker, and I owe a lot of my success this year to Pearcey.

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RLP: People had their doubts about the move to Sydney. How has the club supported you and helped you stay on track? TODD: That’s just the way the club is. Smithy brought us together and said: “we’ll stick together” and that’s what we’ve done. It wasn’t just the people doubting me. I had doubts myself. Obviously it’s a big place and there are a lot of temptations but I moved in with Jake Friend which, I think, has helped me. I think Braith and Smithy have been a big part of that also. Their door is always open; their phone is on whenever you need it; so I know that they’re there. The support of everyone at the club has been great.

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WORDS BY WILL LUCKMAN

RLP: Roosters’ fans absolutely worship you now. How do you feel about their support? TODD: I know when I used to play against the Roosters that the crowd was always vocal and they loved their team and it’s the same when you play for them. They love us, they turn up for us and while ever that happens, players will lift for them. RLP: What advice would you give to young up and coming players? TODD: Just not to take things for granted. Stay on track and don’t fall for the temptations. Football is only around for 10 years and you just have to knuckle down. Just listen to the people that have been through it and done it and give it all you’ve got. RLP: How proud were you to win the Dally M this year? TODD: It was a great honour. 28

RUGBY LEAGUE PLAYER

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6/10/10 10:01 AM


Redemption : Todd Carney