Todd Carney has spoken out about the decision to ban Michael Gordon from coaching grassroots rugby league while he faces drug supply charges.
The pair played together for two years at the Cronulla Sharks, and former halfback Carney has spoken out in defence of his former teammate after Gordon was warned by NSWRL that he was not allowed to coach until his court matters were finished.
Gordon, who also played in the NRL for Gold Coast Titans, is in court on two counts of possessing a prohibited drug, to which he has pleaded guilty, and two counts of taking part in supplying cocaine and MDMA, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Speaking from experience, Carney says just how important rugby league has been throughout his career in getting him through the tough periods in life and that rugby could be key for Gordon.
“If you know what the makeup of a rugby league player is you know that the only stuff on the player’s mind is when they are in their element which is rugby league,” Carney said.
“Michael (Gordon) would be a great coach – I think it’s unfair to pull him away from coaching.”
Carney has been coaching for the last four years for the Byron Bay Red Devils for four years, a team in the same competition as Gordon’s Tweed Coast Raiders.
And, the former Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons halfback has called on the NRL to take into consideration what former players need after they have hung up their boots.
“The players that do play at the highest level that come back to this division and offer help is what builds the game of rugby league – I think there should be more of it,” Carney told the Daily Telegraph.
“I think there should be more reward for the clubs who make it happen instead of being punished.”