LAUNCH: (From left) Todd Carney, of the Cronulla Sharks, Willie Tonga, of the Parramatta Eels, and Robbie Farah, of the Wests Tigers, pose with the NRL Auckland Nines trophy in Sydney yesterday.
LAUNCH: (From left) Todd Carney, of the Cronulla Sharks, Willie Tonga, of the Parramatta Eels, and Robbie Farah, of the Wests Tigers, pose with the NRL Auckland Nines trophy in Sydney yesterday. GETTY IMAGES

Carney keeps mum over drugs furore

SHARKS playmaker Todd Carney says it is business as usual at the club despite constant speculation a range of severe sanctions could be handed down by the NRL as early as today.

Carney was joined by fellow representative players Willie Tonga, Robbie Farah and Greg Bird at Rugby League Central in Sydney yesterday to launch the inaugural Auckland Nines tournament to be played in February.

NRL boss Dave Smith was also present, but made an exit without facing the media. That left Carney to field questions about the NRL's independent investigation into the supplements saga which has reportedly been completed and given to Smith and chief operating officer Jim Doyle.

But if the former Dally M medallist knew what punishment may be coming the club's way, he wasn't saying.

"(We've been told) to continue what we've been doing for the last five weeks and that's turn up and train as hard as we can and do the best we can for our club," Carney said.

"I've probably been told as much as you all have. I don't read the papers. People ring me and ask what's going on and I say 'I don't know'. That's the same now. I don't know."

Given the similarities between what happened at Cronulla and Essendon, speculation has suggested the Sharks could be hit with a huge fine and face having coach Shane Flanagan stood down for 12 months, as James Hird was at the Bombers. Carney said he would be disappointed if that eventuated.

"If he was to be stood down, I'd be disappointed and it would hurt our club," he said. "But until that happens, it's all as usual. He's addressed us as coach that his focus is to make us a better side in 2014."

The investigation is separate to the one being conducted by ASADA which is not expected to be completed until next year and will in all likelihood include player suspensions.

Meanwhile, ticket sales for the Nines have passed the $NZ3 million mark, the highest figure recorded for a rugby league event in New Zealand.

The gross ticket revenue is believed to be more than triple the amount for any Warriors NRL game or Kiwis Test in New Zealand.


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