Former NRL bad boy Todd Carney has recounted a ferocious spray from former coach Brian Smith that ultimately ended his famous stint at the Sydney Roosters.
After being banished from the game for a year in 2009 for bad off-field behavior throughout his Canberra Raiders career, and spending a year working and playing in Cairns, Carney made a high-profile return to the NRL, signing a two-year deal with the Sydney Roosters in 2010.
His comeback year turned out to be the best of his career, after leading the Roosters to the 2010 Grand Final, and being awarded the Dally M medalist and five-eight of the year.
His time in the Eastern Suburbs would be short-lived however, after a dramatic fall out with coach Smith eventually sent the then 24-year old to the Cronulla Sharks in 2012.
Appearing on former NRL player Isaac John’s podcast The Ice Project, Carney explained his dramatic downfall from Roosters stardom, which was triggered by a return to bad habits.
“I don’t know, we just both lost each other’s trust, and I just didn’t want to be there,” Carney said.
“I remember he called me and Pearcey in one day and he was just having a go at us. He looked at me and just said “you didn’t deserve that Dally M last year, it was a feel-good story for the game, you got what you wanted out of it, now you’re just trying to wreck everyone else”.
“Then he looked at Pearcey and had a go at him about it too, so it was sh** the way we fell out. We’ve sorted out our differences now, I get along really well with Smithy now.”
Whilst at the time their falling out boiled over, to point a where the Roosters drifted from grand finalists to missing the finals in 2011, a wholehearted Carney admitted he deserved Smith’s harsh words.
“When it happened I rang my manager like a sook, I was sulking and said I want to get out of the club,” he said.
“Smithy came round and said “it was a heat of the moment given I wasn’t happy with what you were doing, and that was the best way I thought I could get it through to you”.
“He definitely had a point, because he goes “what you did in 2010, it’s nothing if you don’t back it up and you’re not backing with the way you’re training”.
“When you look back at it he definitely has a point because he wanted me to return like I did in 2010.”
After a turbulent 2011 season, in which Carney was charged with low-range drink driving and broke team drinking protocols, he was again stood down, before announcing a big-money move to Cronulla.
Whilst he received Dally M five-eighth honours again in the 2013 season, the infamous bubbler incident that led to him being sacked by a third club proved to be the final nail in the coffin of his rollercoaster NRL career.