STAR POWER: Todd Carney played for the Northern Pride against the Ipswich Jets last weekend.
STAR POWER: Todd Carney played for the Northern Pride against the Ipswich Jets last weekend. Franca Tigani

Carney 'an absolute gentleman'

THEY say never meet your idols, because you will be disappointed.

But while Todd Carney does not quite classify as Rohan McPhail's idol, the star former NRL halfback is the namesake of his Ipswich Touch Rugby League team.

And the 'Todd Carney All Stars' got the chance to meet the man whose name graces their jerseys, following the Ipswich Jets' clash against Carney's Northern Pride at North Ipswich Reserve last Saturday.

"(The team name) was a bit of a laugh at the start. We didn't expect to last three weeks, as a bunch of 40-year-old hacks," McPhail said with a self-deprecating laugh.

"We used to have an annual celebration at the end of every season, which is four times a year much to our wives' enjoyment. When (Carney) signed with the Pride, we saw the opportunity to meet with the great man."

 

The
ALL SMILES: The 'Todd Carney All Stars' got to meet their namesake at North Ipswich Reserve last weekend.

Jets five-eighth Dane Phillips and coach Ben Walker - whose son plays for the All Stars - organised for Carney to meet with the group after the match.

"We were fortunate that some of the boys at the Jets knew him, and he said he'd be more than happy to meet with us," McPhail said.

"They told him: 'They've nominated you as the patron of their geriatric touch footy team'.

"He was very willing, surprisingly enough. He hung around for 45 minutes to have a chat. He probably would have stuck around longer if they didn't chuck him on a bus."

McPhail and his team celebrated the occasion by handing the 2010 Dally M Medallist his own Todd Carney All Stars jersey.

"I told him he can take the Dally M off the wall now and replace it with the mighty TRL Todd Carney jersey," McPhail said.

"We officially retired the number six in his honour."

 

Todd Carney meets with young players at last weekend's Jets match at the North Ipswich Reserve.
Todd Carney meets with young players at last weekend's Jets match at the North Ipswich Reserve.

Carney's desire to return to the NRL has been well-publicised in recent months.

Many believe the former Kangaroos representative is deserving of a return to the NRL, and the Cowboys have declared they are interested in bringing the 31-year-old to Townsville.

McPhail would like to see Carney given another chance at the highest level.

"Yes the bloke has had a chequered past, but when you meet him he's no different to any normal bloke," McPhail said.

"He was purely a gentleman.

"We were brought back down to Earth a bit. We thought, 'Maybe he has been given a raw deal of it'.

"Hopefully people can see that he's trying harder (to be better)."