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Carroll not answering an SOS: Broncos

By Wayne Heming 30/06/2009 05:18:07 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane have strongly refuted suggestions Tonie Carroll's comeback is linked to an SOS from the Broncos to the one-time hitman following their fourth straight NRL loss at the weekend.

Brisbane surprised on Tuesday by naming the 216-game, 33-year-old international on a five-man bench for Friday night's showdown with an equally desperate Warriors after it was thought he may need a few more weeks to work on his fitness.

Carroll retired last September after Brisbane's painful last-minute finals exit at the hands of Melbourne.

"It's certainly not panic stations," stressed chief executive Bruno Cullen, keen to upend any talk Brisbane had turned to Carroll as a possible saviour after they fell out of the top eight with Sunday's 21-14 loss to Parramatta.

A feared defender and minder of Darren Lockyer, Carroll's comeback coincides with Brisbane having leaked 138 points in losing three straight games by more than 40 points for the first time in their proud history, before a vastly improved effort against the Eels.

"There's a few stories flying around but we didn't approach Tunza (Carroll) at all and he's certainly not answering an SOS from the club. I want to make that very clear," Cullen said on Tuesday after Carroll was confirmed in coach Ivan Henjak's 18-man squad.

"Tunza and Justin Hodges had a coffee quite a few weeks ago and during their discussions Hodgo said to Tunza if he felt that way, he should put the boots on again and have a go.

"As a result of that meeting, Ivan and Tunza got together and Ivan told him if he was fair dinkum about wanting to make a comeback to go away and get into a shape where he could seriously consider it."

Carroll, who sells real estate on the Gold Coast, has been working privately with the club's conditioning guru Dean Benton and wrestling coach Chris Haseman.

Cullen said Hodges had made a similar plea to former prop Shane Webcke to make a playing comeback after he retired on a premiership-winning note in 2006.

"Webbie struggled for six or 12 months after he retired and wanted to come back and play," he said.

"Hodgo approached Shane Webcke to come back before the end of last year, before the season started."

Meanwhile, Brisbane received a double dose of good news on the injury front with fullback Karmichael Hunt (ankle) and prop Nick Kenny (knee) both cleared of serious injuries.

Hunt is an outside chance of playing against the Warriors while Kenny, who has a partial medial ligament tear, is hoping to be back within four weeks.

"Hopefully if the swelling comes down I will be right for the weekend," said Hunt on Tuesday morning.

Henjak named Hunt in Brisbane's 18-man squad with youngster Josh Hoffman on the bench as back-up.

There were initial fears Kenny's season could be over after he wrenched his knee against Parramatta.

But scans cleared the prop of any damage to his anterior cruciate ligament which would have required him to have a knee reconstruction.

"I was worried initially because it didn't sound good and it didn't feel good when it happened," said Kenny, who has assumed the role as Brisbane's No.1 prop this season.

"I was worried about having to have surgery and missing out on the rest of the season.

"It's a big relief to know that's not the case."

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