Salford head coach Ian Watson has admitted it isn’t possible to ignore Todd Carney’s previous track record, having revealed he held honest discussions with the halfback about his off-field misdemeanours before signing him.
Carney has linked up with his new teammates and is currently picking up speed having missed the entirety of the club’s pre-season campaign.
The 30-year-old has endured countless off-field issues during his controversial career, with his antics away from the pitch often overshadowing his undoubted brilliance on it.
Watson conceded that he is well aware of Carney’s history, but believes both he and Salford can help him produce on the field regularly.
“I like to do a lot of research on people and you look through and you can’t ignore the history Todd has got,” Watson admitted.
“It’s something we spoke openly about before we’d even considered signing him, and he was glad we approached it because I don’t think people have approached it before. Maybe they haven’t spoken to him about certain things but I was very clear when we spoke to him about these issues and him being accountable for what he does.
“We need to work together, it’s not just about Todd doing something or me doing something, we’ve got to make sure we’re going in the right direction and our door is always open for him to speak to us.
“We’re on the same path at the moment. Todd’s key is his ambition and he’s always said he wants to be one of the best players in the world; he got it with the Dally M and it’s up to him to prove he can be at that level again. Players learn through experience and hopefully he’s learning again.”
When questioned further about Carney’s issues away from the pitch, Watson said: “You’re never going to stop someone having a drink – it’s how much they drink and who they surround themselves with.
“We’ve got a good group here who are keen to embrace Todd and harness that and encourage him to be the right way. Hopefully that will be good for us and good for Todd.”
Salford fans will have to wait until next week at the earliest to see Carney in action, with Watson officially ruling him out of playing in this weekend’s clash with Warrington.
“Todd’s not going to be in the 19. He’s getting there; his first week was very rusty and his second week has been a lot better so hopefully he can have a good week next week and we can bring him into the group next week.
“If he’s a fit Todd Carney, he’ll be a good Todd Carney. We need to get him fit because that’s the number one priority but he’s settling in really well. We’ve looked at him on the bench and he’s been running in a number of different roles.
“He’ll give a different dimension to us. His kicking game is good his game management is first class and you don’t win a Dally M without being a super player. He’s slowly getting better and building himself up there and adding a voice when we’re doing the drills.”
“He’s been passed over to the strength and conditioning guys. He’s living and breathing Greg Brown at the minute and I think he’ll be glad to get out of there soon. I’ve always wanted competition for places; if you have someone breathing down your neck you’re going to perform better. He’s putting the pressure on Rob (Lui), Michael (Dobson) and Gaz (O’Brien) and we want them playing to the best of their ability but if one of them goes down Todd comes in and gets a chance to hold that shirt.”