Rabbitohs threaten end to Bears partnership if Todd Carney signed
Sign Todd Carney and we'll look elsewhere for a replacement feeder club.
That's the message the South Sydney Rabbitohs have sent to the North Sydney Bears as they mull over offering a career lifeline to the controversial player, in the process pouring cold water on Carney's latest hope of making a comeback to the NRL.
After Carney was linked with North Sydney, the Rabbitohs issued a strongly worded statement which left no doubt the NRL club saw no potential pathway for him to return.
They've advised their second-tier feeder club North Sydney that there'd be no way for Carney to progress to first grade through their relationship, even if the Bears were to sign him to a deal.
Rabbitohs general manager of football, Shane Richardson, said the club's priority was to develop the young players within its system.
"We've spoken to Norths about Todd Carney and it's our position that we will develop our young halves, as opposed to bringing in a player from outside the club in this instance," Richardson said.
"Players such as Adam Doueihi, Connor Tracey and Dean Hawkins are all excellent young players who we see as future players in the NRL, and our efforts will be concentrated on them.
"'The Rabbitoh Way' is to build a culture that rewards young players for hard work, a culture that has respect for the club and its people, respects the members and sponsors that invest financially and emotionally into what we are doing here at South Sydney, and a culture of developing young players that want to play for South Sydney and that we see having a future NRL career.
"We intend to do that with the players we have here at the club, and our players, coaches and staff are all on board with this approach."
In addition to the public statement, the ABC understands the club has also taken the extraordinary step of threatening to walk away from its partnership with Norths.
The Bears and the Rabbitohs have been in partnership since 2007.
North Sydney feeds into the Rabbitohs from the New South Wales second tier competition.
New South Wales Rugby League said it more than likely wouldn't have any objection to registering Carney in the state-based competition, given he was registered with the Queensland-affiliated competition earlier this year.