The St George Illawarra Dragons have gone to war with the Wests Tigers over Tim Moltzen, but the ultimate loser could be the Cronulla Sharks as speculation mounts the Dragons could make a move for Todd Carney.
NRL salary-cap auditor Ian Schubert has been charged with deciding Moltzen’s fate, but it appears increasingly unlikely the Tigers utility will play with the Dragons next season, given his desire to remain at his current club.
Even if Schubert decides in St George Illawarra’s favour, a compensation deal appears certain to be hammered out. That could result in the Dragons making a play for Carney, who parted ways with the Sydney Roosters last month.
The Sharks remain the clear favourite to land Carney, having tabled a healthy two-year offer, but the Dragons could scuttle their plans.
St George Illawarra is well-stocked with halves, given the presence of NSW five-eighth Jamie Soward and former Test halfback Ben Hornby. However, the club has options should it decide to pursue Carney.
One would be to move Hornby to fullback, a position he played for both the Dragons and NSW before making the switch to the halves. The other would be to revive the Roosters’ short-lived plan to play Carney at fullback.
Carney played the opening seven games of the 2010 season in the No 1 jersey, winning two man-of-the-match awards before being shifted to the halves.
Carney is expected to make an announcement on his future by the middle of next week, meaning the longer Schubert takes, the more likely it becomes he will join the Sharks.