Carney, being the Wild Colonial Boy and all, has had a rough trot for, oh, let's say the last five years, discounting 2010 where he sobered up, stuck to the script and won the Dally M medal. He's lost a few things along the way. Dignity, respect, credibility, money - obviously, plenty of money, the legal right to visit his home town for twelve months, available and unadulterated skin-space on his person, and two clubs. The stakes are kind of high with this new signing, but, godlove him, he remains full of kick and daring. Madness, gladness, whatever. He doesn't seem to let the world get too much on him. I admire this quality in people. Taking the juice and leaving the rinds. It's a talent.
Anyway, assuming that Toddy makes it onto the field for them next year, I'm looking forward to having the Sharks as my new Number Two Team. Just as it's over between him and the Roosters, it's alos over between myself and the Roosters. This is how it has to be when who your second team is hinges on who one renegade player is signed with. Such is life. Luckily, the Sharks are a lovely and altogether likeable team. They're poverty-stricken, for one, and exist with a constant threat of liquidation and eradication hanging over their collective heads. Because of this, they also routinely suffer well-meaning fools suggesting that their club - and I don't really understand this - partially relocate to Western Australia or Adelaide or wherever, how insulting is that? They're battlers, basically, and battlers are GO. In addition to all this, they have a fabulous team song. The fact that you hardly ever get to hear it makes it seem even more rousing and evocative, if that's even possible.
I'm also very much looking forward to Carney playing in the same team as Paul Gallan. I'm trying to imagine it but my mind can't manage it. The combination of these two players presents a staggering tableau that is too exciting and brutal for my imagination to bear. Last year I kind of lost sight of what a savagely brilliant player Carney is. The reason this occured is mostly because he didn't actually play very well, for reasons too varied and exhausting to catalogue all over again. Now, though, a new day dawns. All those white folks in the Shire must be very, very excited right now. The odds must be firming up for the Sharks to win that elusive first premiership, remember, in the same way they did in a burst of explosive, exuberant and deluded optimism when G.I. signed with the Bunnies last summer? I imagine Cronulla's pubs and clubs are assuming the brace position, too. Those sons of bitches at The Tele ran a bitchy article in which they helpfully pointed out - on a fucking map, no less - some of the Shire's establishments that may be of interest to Carney, given his proclivity for nocturnal pursuits.
The fabulous Paul Gallan, who once enjoyed a very rich and illustrious reputation as one of the grubbiest players in the game, has been instrumental in getting Toddy to the Sharks and is already all over this new mentoring gig of his. Gal. What a guy. I just scrolled through my desktop folder of photos titled 'King Gal' and was struck by the thought that he is tremendously elegant despite his sturdy frame. Elegant in a bourbon and Coke kind of way, yes, but elegant nonetheless. And gentle as the milk of God, too, outside of the eighty.
Gal and Carney share a manager, David Rioli. Rioli said "Gal's been hammering me. I kept talking to him about his contract and all he wanted to do was talk about Todd." This is a feeling that I am very, very familiar with.
Here's Gal on mentoring Carney:
"I think it's a two way street with Todd. He has to understand who he is and he will be targeted. He should go home and have some Weet-bix instead of going to Maccas. When he does go out, he has to be a bit smarter and probably needs someone with him to make sure he gets home alright."Asked whether that would be him, Gallen said
"I'll take him home."This is all kinds of awesome. It also fills me with a great surge of confidence. He is in good hands, he is in safe hands, HE IS IN GAL'S HANDS. There's also more in the way of arrestingly positive news. Sharks chairman Damian Irving said his club would refuse to place extensive alcohol restrictions on Carney. This is a canny and pragmatic move, since he would most likely break them. Asked would he prefer Carney didn't drink, Irvine said
"I like a drink, we all like a drink. drinking is a huge part of society. I was out at Randwick last week and there were next [generation of] lawyers, politicians and accountants all stumbling drunk at three o'clock in the afternoon...Todd hasn't done a lot wrong this year. We all need to manage our drink."So yeah, I think Toddy's gonna go just fine in the Shire.