No more Origin blues for Todd Carney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No more Origin blues for Todd Carney

By Steve Jancetic 29/05/2008 08:29:26 PM Comments (0)

Try as he might, Canberra halfback Todd Carney struggled to block out talk of him wearing a sky blue jumper in this year's Origin series.

With the NSW halfback berth up in the air leading into Origin I, Carney's name was one of several along with Kurt Gidley, Brett Finch and the man who eventually got the job - Peter Wallace - being tossed about as possible candidates.

History shows Wallace went on to have a stellar debut in game one to sew up his position for the remainder of the series, and while disappointed to miss out, it finally enabled Carney to put all his focus back into the Raiders.

And that means trouble for Manly on Friday night as they head to the nation's capital looking to preserve their spot in the NRL top four.

"In a way it's good that it's out of the way, you're not thinking about that any more," Carney said of Origin selection.

"You say you're not thinking about it at the time but obviously it's in the back of your head when things are getting said about you.

"But now that's all over and I think the team's going to stay as it is for the series and I'm just concentrating on playing good football for the Raiders."

Whether it was the pressure of impressing Origin selectors or something else entirely, Carney freely admits he was well below his best in the weeks leading up to Origin I.

That all changed with a masterful performance against South Sydney two weeks ago and Carney is hoping last week's bye hasn't taken the edge off the Raiders.

The man he'll go up against, Matt Orford, is a man used to being on the end of a cold shoulder from NSW selectors, and at 30 years of age his chance at pulling on a sky blue jumper appears to have come and gone.

Despite being constantly overlooked for higher honours, Carney said the veteran half remained a constant threat.

"Matt Orford's their backbone and he has to be - he controls their ruck, he's their main kicker and most of their stuff comes through him," said Carney, who was close to linking with Orford and the Sea Eagles for next season before re-signing with Canberra last month.

"Without a specialist five-eighth there we really need to shut him down."

The Sea Eagles won't need to look too far back for motivation after copping a spray from coach Des Hasler following their loss to St George Illawarra last week.

To make matters worse, the rant was beamed live into the homes of thousands of viewers, Hasler upset his side couldn't take care of a mistake riddled Dragons outfit.

Prop Troy Thompson returns from injury for the Raiders while Hasler has stuck with the same side adding only Vic Mauro to an extended bench.

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