Aussie half-back faces a court hearing that will decide where his career will go.
TODD Carney could yet find himself at Wembley – but his biggest date is in very different surroundings.
And he has admitted there have been times when he has wondered if the court case that will shape his career will ever get settled.
Salford’s Aussie half-back is pursuing former club Cronulla for wrongful dismissal, a case that will decide if he will ever play in Australia again.
Resolve things his way and Carney can head back to the NRL, otherwise it is Super League or retirement.
And the whole process, which has already dragged on for longer than he thought, is proving tough.
“There are still days when I think, ‘Is it ever going to get sorted?’” said Carney, who has been sacked by three NRL sides over the course of his career.
“But it should be all finalised at the end of August, after the Challenge Cup Final, then I can sit down and decide what my future is.
“I’m in no rush. I got here late this year and enjoyed my time away from the game, so I’m in no rush. It’s been four years now, so it’ll get done.
“Before I came over here, most people I spoke to didn’t have a certain perception of me. In Australia it’s a bit different but in all, everyone’s been great to me from that perspective.
“They’ve judged me on who I am and in Australia, I think everyone’s forgotten about me. There are too many good players and too many larrikins but I’m happy with the place I’m in at the moment.”
Carney may be a big part of coach Ian Watson’s plans to reach Wembley for the first time since 1969, especially as fellow half-back Rob Lui is injured.
But stepping out on the biggest stage in the UK is a far cry from training on his own at a gym in his hometown of Goulburn in New South Wales.
And inevitably, doubts over whether it was worth putting himself through gruelling sessions was worth it crept in.
The 31-year-old added: “It’s a long way from training on my own, which I was doing back home in Goulburn but in Sydney there was a little group of us.
“But when I was living at my mum’s it was literally a case of turning up at a gym and doing my own thing.
“There were some days where I was like, ‘What’s all this going to? What’s it worth?’ I always knew I had something to work towards but when I was on my own, I was like, ‘What is the final picture?’”
That final picture could yet be the Challenge Cup Final, something that he has had to learn about during his time at Salford and before that, Catalans Dragons.
And he revealed he would love to be busy on Saturday, August 26 – the day of the showpiece – as it means they would have beaten Wigan on Sunday.
Carney said: “When I first started playing rugby league, it probably wouldn’t have been a goal to play in the Challenge Cup as I thought I would’ve stayed in Australia forever.
“But when I first came to the Super League, I set myself goals and the Challenge Cup Final was one of them. My eyes were opened to how big the competition is.
“We don’t have that in Australia. We had cups when I was a kid but nothing to this level and the thing with it is once it’s over, it’s over.
“I speak to past players from Australia and I’ve been getting messages from them last week and this week about how special the Challenge Cup is. They don’t really talk about the big one back home, they talk about the Challenge Cup and it’s something everyone watches.
“You get the weekend off if you’re not in it but you don’t want that. When you do, you realise that you’ve let something slip.
“I’ve said to the other players that this game won’t come around again too many times. Now we’ve got to believe that we belong here and we’re not here just to make up the numbers.”
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