Opinion: Be excited, not sceptical, by Todd Carney’s arrival

After League Express reported on Monday that a deal to take Todd Carney to Catalan Dragons was nearing its completion, the club announced yesterday that they had reached an agreement with the half-back for him to play in Super League.

Carney’s year has been anything but quiet – after being sacked by NRL side Cronulla Sharks after an off-field incident that was heavily reported on by Australian media.

He’s certainly a controversial character, but when he is allowed to concentrate on his game, he remains one of the most exciting half-backs in world rugby. Carney has a real classy side with ball in hand, and when his rugby abilities shine through, it’s almost easy to forget everything that happens off the field.

And this move across the other side of the world represents a fresh opportunity for Carney to prove people wrong – and as fans of Super League, we should be welcoming him with open arms. We’re constantly told that the game lacks star power over in the United Kingdom; if that is the case, then the arrival of Carney will be a real shot in the arm for Rugby League in England (and France, of course).

You would imagine that crowds will go up whenever the Dragons roll into town with Carney in tow, and that’s a fine example of just how good a thing this transfer can be for Super League. The division needs star power, and Carney certainly provides that with aplomb.

You only need to go back a few years and draw heavy comparisons with Carney’s signature at the Dragons and Greg Bird’s transfer to the club. Bird arrived in 2009 under a bit of a cloud, but had an impressive season in the South of France with the Dragons – and has since gone on to become part of a World Cup-winning squad.

The quieter lifestyle the South of France provides should enable Carney to cut himself free from Australian media, and settle down and simply focus on playing Rugby League. Because let’s be honest, if Carney is fully focused on his game, the Dragons may well take some stopping next year.

With the lively Morgan Escare and Eloi Pelissier already at the club, the transfer of Carney could turn the Dragons into genuine title contenders in 2015.

And if that does happen, you would imagine a few NRL clubs will stand up and take interest in the mercurial Carney again.