A rare injury-free run for former NRL bad boy Todd Carney has helped spark his Catalans Dragons’ best chance at putting together a three-match winning run for the first time in 18 months, but he’ll need to overcome a Chris Sandow-inspired Warrington to do it.
Carney, who joined the Dragons at the start of last season after being sacked by NRL club Cronulla for repeated off-field indescrecions, had a wretched injury run in his debut Super League season – struggling with hamstring complaints in particular.
The slow-starting Perpignan club kick-started their 2016 Super League campaign with back-to-back wins over Leeds and Wakefield – with Carney providing vital spark and direction in attack.
And as he prepares to play his fifth straight match – a feat he didn’t achieve last season – Carney has become the key player the Catalans hoped he would be, according to halves partner Richie Myler.
“He was hampered a lot by injury last year but he’s fit now and a key member of this team,” Myler said ahead of their clash with unbeaten Warrington.
“He’s a massive player and I think he showed that against Wakefield, where he had a hand in most of the tries.
“We have got a big pack and it gets bigger now we’ve got Mason and Remi is back. It’s handy. That’s what all half-backs want, a decent-sized pack to look after you. There’s some great players in the team.
“It was a bit of a tough season for me last year but it’s a nice fresh start and a new challenge and I’m really enjoying it.”
The arrival of 120kg heavyweight Dave Taylor and veteran prop Willie Mason has increased the size of the Dragons pack this year, with Myler relishing playing behind a big pack.
Warrington coach Tony Smith is able to recall former Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley after he missed the win at Salford through concussion to renew his thriving partnership with fellow Australian Chris Sandow and he is looking forward to the battle of the halfbacks.
“I thought Rich probably had his strongest game for a long time against Wakefield last week,” Smith said.
“Carney and (Myler) combined well together.
“We’ve got two experienced halves that are playing well together so it should be a good battle.
“It will come down to the forwards to see which team gets on the front foot so those halfbacks can probably get the edge.”