English Super League side Catalan Dragons are facing competition from rugby union for the signature of disgraced NRL star Todd Carney, according to head coach Laurent Frayssinous.
The former Dally M medal winner has been forced to look overseas to continue his career after being sacked by all three of his NRL clubs, Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Cronulla, for varying forms of misconduct and is thought to have been offered a three-year deal with the French club.
Frayssinous said he has spoken personally to the 28-year-old Carney in a bid to tempt him to the south of France.
“We have been in contact for a few weeks and hopefully it will be done,” Frayssinous said.
“I am keen to have such a quality player in the Catalan team.
“He’s heard a lot of good things about the south of France but his manager has got a few options for him, from Super League and from union. We are one of those options. We’ll see in the next few days or weeks if it can happen.”
Cronulla tore up Carney’s contract, which had three years left to run, in June after an inappropriate photograph went viral on Twitter.
Carney, who played three State of Origin games for New South Wales in 2012 and made his Test debut in 2010, came close to moving to Super League in 2008 when he signed a 12-month deal to join Huddersfield but the move fell through when he was denied a visa.
The French appear to have less stringent regulations and the Dragons were able to sign another controversial Australian, Greg Bird, in 2009 after his proposed move to Bradford collapsed.
Bird, who now plays for the Gold Coast Titans, resurrected his career during a 12-month spell in the south of France, and Carney could now follow suit.
“I remember Greg when he came,” Frayssinous added.
“I was assistant coach and everybody was talking negatively about him.
“But that year we had the best end of the season. We were one game from Old Trafford and he was a big part of that, on and off the field.”
Frayssinous needs to find a replacement for stand-off Leon Pryce, who is joining Hull in 2015.
Another Australian, Scott Dureau, is set to return to Perpignan for the last year of his contract after an injury-hit season in 2014 and French international Thomas Bosc recently extended his contract, which leaves former Canberra and St George Illawarra playmaker Sam Williams facing an anxious wait to discover if he has a role to play.
“Sam is still an option,” Frayssinous said.
“I’m pretty happy with Thomas and Scott but it would be nice to have Todd. It would be very exciting for people to watch Todd Carney, even if they are not a supporter of the Dragons.”