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Carney to influence Raiders plans
Canberra chief executive Don Furner says the future of Todd Carney is central to the Raiders plans for 2008, with the halfback's decision to stay or go affecting at least two teammates who are off contract this season.
The Raiders have tabled a four-year deal to keep the 21-year-old in the nation's capital, but Carney has fielded lucrative offers from Penrith and Manly.
Carney's decision will effect the futures of fellow halves Terry Campese and Michael Dobson, who, like a dozen Raiders, are off contract this season.
"(Todd's decision) does effect a few positions with other blokes off contract," said Furner.
"For us to plan ahead and know where we're going we need to know what Todd is doing so we can plan around it and talk to the other guys as well."
If Carney decides to stay in Canberra, then both Campese and Dobson could be forced out of the ACT as the Raiders have young five-eighth Marc Herbert coming through the ranks.
If Carney opts to leave, then Furner and coach Neil Henry will give Campese and Dobson the first few rounds of the season to fight for their futures at the club.
"It will be up to the coaching staff to review their form over the next couple of weeks to see how they're going and make some decisions on re-signing or letting go," said Furner.
Canberra had asked Carney for his decision before the NRL season kicks off on Friday, but Carney's manager David Riolo said an answer may not be forthcoming as they were working over the finer details of his offers.
While the Raiders are hopeful of retaining the NSW Origin prospect, Furner was quick to allay fears Carney's departure would leave Canberra with a shortcoming in the halves in years ahead.
Furner points to the fact the green machine have been perhaps the leading NRL club in developing halfbacks in recent seasons, with Brett Finch (Parramatta), Michael Monaghan (Warrington - ex-Manly), Jamie Soward (St George Illawarra) and Josh McCrone (Penrith) all starting their careers in Canberra.
"We've got some good young kids coming through. We've always had plenty of halves at the club in the last couple of years," he said.
"We just seem to have had a patch of halves.
"Yeah, it is frustrating (most have left the club), but some of those we chose to let go because we couldn't fit them into the cap or they were offered better money.
"We've gone through a few but obviously we want to get Toddy bedded down here."