Todd Carney is expected to enter into mediation with Cronulla over his controversial sacking from the club last month, in a move that may prevent the case from going to court.
Carney, whose $3.5 million, five-year contract was terminated without the opportunity to front the Cronulla board, has sought leave to appeal the decision. He said the Sharks failed to follow the process for dealing with disciplinary issues outlined in the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the Rugby League Players’ Association.
His application is still being considered by NRL appeals committee chairman Ian Callinan, QC, after Carney was granted an extension to lodge documentation supporting his argument.
However, it is believed Carney and the Sharks will be advised to hold mediation talks before a decision is made on whether he has grounds to appeal his sacking after a photo of him appearing to urinate in his own mouth was circulated on social media.
With the NRL having said he was effectively banned from playing in the competition for life, the former NSW Origin five-eighth is expected to seek some form of financial compensation from Cronulla.
If mediation fails and Callinan refuses his bid to appeal, Carney is understood to be planning to take civil action in the courts.
Carney’s agent David Riolo said in a radio interview several weeks ago that the collective bargaining agreement between the RLPA and the NRL required the Sharks to issue the 2010 Dally M medal winner with a breach notice, that he would have five days to respond to, before a hearing with the club’s board.
However, Carney was sacked less than 24 hours after the photo appeared on Twitter.
Riolo also said Cronulla chief executive Steve Noyce should not have been involved in the process as he had previously sacked Carney from the Sydney Roosters before he joined the Sharks in 2012.
Having also been sacked by Canberra in 2007, it appears to be a case of “three strikes and you’re out” for Carney. NRL officials have said they would be surprised if any club showed interest in signing him and, even if they did, it was “unlikely” his contract would be registered.
However, Catalans have expressed an interest in Carney’s services and the Perpignan-based Super League club don’t seem to have the same problem as their English rivals in obtaining visas for players who have a criminal record.