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Roosters' Carney is back with running game

By David Beniuk 24/06/2011 06:26:50 PM Comments (0)

Dally M medallist Todd Carney has returned to the Sydney Roosters from a stint at Newtown with his running game and confidence on the rise, ahead of Sunday's crucial NRL showdown with Newcastle.

Carney took advantage of the Roosters' bye to run out with the club's NSW Cup feeder side last weekend after some indifferent form so far in 2011.

A groin injury and more off-field problems have blighted the five-eighth's season, but he starred for the Newtown Jets after asking coach Brian Smith if he could play fullback for them in a bid to bolster his form.

Roosters' halves partner Mitchell Pearce said Carney had been looking to rediscover the running game which has all but deserted him.

"I think that was the main reason he went back there because that's probably his real strength and everyone knows that," Pearce said.

"When he's running the ball, he's very powerful and he's got good footwork and he's strong and he showed that last week at Newtown.

"In (NRL) games, he's been showing glimpses of that, but I think once he really gets his confidence back up, he could finish the year really well."

Pearce said Carney returned to Roosters' training for the Ausgrid Stadium clash with the Knights with more confidence.

"He's certainly been a bit more upbeat and more vocal this week which is a great sign," Pearce said.

"Your ability doesn't go overnight. He's still ultra-talented.

"Hopefully, that confidence will help him have a massive one this week."

Carney is also poised to regain the goalkicking duties from captain Braith Anasta, after finally being able to practise with his recovery from the groin problem.

Roosters' fullback Anthony Minichiello said Carney had shown courage in trying to find the form which made him the competition's best player in 2010.

"It was really big of him to say to the coach he wanted to go back and play for Newtown and he had a really good game there," Minichiello said.

"He got his running game back and he set up a couple of tries and he's been doing some goalkicking at training as well so he's getting there."

It couldn't come at a better time for the Roosters, who have won just four from 13 and will be desperate for Carney to unleash his once-deadly running game on a tailor-made dry Sunday afternoon.

Anasta said the Roosters had suffered recently because of the inability of Pearce and Carney to spend time together, due to Carney's injury and club-imposed suspension and Pearce's NSW State of Origin duty.

"Sometimes, when it's just not working, it takes a bit to get your confidence back as a team and that's what's obviously our issue," Pearce said.

"We've just got to keep working hard and confidence comes back pretty quickly within a team, I reckon, so hopefully it's just around the corner."

The Roosters lost New Zealand international Shaun Kenny-Dowall on Friday after he was named to return from an ankle injury.

His place in the centres is likely to be taken by 2010 grand final player Kane Linnett.

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