Carney fails to inspire insipid Roosters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carney fails to inspire insipid Roosters

By Joe Barton 15/05/2011 06:48:53 PM Comments (0)

Not even the return of reigning Dally M medallist Todd Carney was enough to ignite a misfiring Sydney Roosters outfit in a dismal 18-4 NRL loss to Cronulla on Sunday.

Carney, who has missed all but four games in 2011 due to a groin injury and a club-enforced suspension, looked sharp in attack but didn't have the same spark that saw him propel the Roosters to a grand final against St George Illawarra last year.

The Roosters have now slumped to 14th on the NRL ladder with just two wins from nine games, but coach Brian Smith insists it is not time to panic just yet.

"I think this is where we differ to you (journalists) ... panic is great for you guys, and panic is definitely not great for us, so we won't be panicking," Smith said.

However, the veteran mentor did admit the club needs Carney to recapture his form from the back end of last year if the club is to have any chance of making the finals this season.

Despite watching his side struggle to crack a stoic Cronulla defensive line, Smith said he was pleased with Carney's first up performance.

"(It was) encouraging," he said.

"I thought he moved really well and conditioning wise I was a bit surprised really that he was still playing at the end of the game as much as he was.

"Logically you'd look for improvement in his touch and his combinations with other players as the next couple of weeks go by.

"When we pinned them in that second half and got lots of good ball, lots of opportunities ... I thought that's when we just lacked that little bit of quality. And when Todd's at his best he certainly offers that to us.

"It was the same last year for him, he got better from about the mid-point of the year and we rode off the back of that.

"That's not to say it's all about Todd today with us losing, nor was it when we were winning, but he is an important part of that attacking jigsaw for us."

Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce said he felt Carney was "brilliant" in his first game back but said he had no solution for why the Roosters were unable to convert their chances into points.

In a weekend of upsets and serious injuries, Penrith's victory over Brisbane on Friday night provided the biggest example of both.

The Panthers stormed back to form with a 33-10 victory, but lost in-form fullback Michael Gordon to a season-ending knee injury in the process, while the off-contract Timana Tahu's year could also be over with a ruptured pectoral muscle.

Brisbane's Justin Hodges also failed to finish that game, and is no chance of lining up for Queensland in the opening State of Origin fixture due to a grade one hamstring tear.

St George Illawarra confirmed their place as ladder leaders with a 15-10 victory over the Bulldogs, while Melbourne suffered a shock loss to Canberra, who ended a record-equalling eight-game losing streak with the 20-12 triumph.

South Sydney stunned the Tigers to lead 27-0 at halftime on Saturday night before holding on for a 29-18 win, while North Queensland were powered to a 40-26 victory over Parramatta by skipper Johnathan Thurston that saw them surge into third place on the ladder.

Manly have a chance to rejoin the top four when they travel to the Gold Coast on Monday night.

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