Off the Wall

Today we see about as stark a contrast as possible when it comes to how clubs manage off field issues that drag the good name of the game down.

The Roosters are conducting yet another inquiry into Todd Carney following an early morning appearance in Kings Cross - with a photo of Carney and a couple of other players dressed up in their Sunday best (including rubber thongs).

Today we also see an announcement that helps restore the balance - a player who once copped a hefty fine for an off field behaviour issue being named the Broncos captain for 2012 succeeding the retiring Darren Lockyer.

The appointment of Sam Thaiday is a victory for the tough and pro-active approach to off field issues. In 2008 he was fined $20,000 for his alleged role in an incident in a night club - an incident which did not lead to any criminal charges being laid. Stories about his partying lifestyle were everywhere in Brisbane at the time.

Since then he has been an exemplary player, on and off the field. His selection as captain is a personal triumph, but also a vindication of the tough approach the Broncos eventually took - an approach which was genuinely consistent with the stance taken against other players for off field issues, a couple of whom were sacked on the spot.

It is also a triumph for indigenous players in the game - Thiaday is noted for his work in indigenous communities and with young indigenous players especially at the grass roots level.

The Broncos are not the only club to take a tough line on behaviour - but today they are entitled to claim a substantial dividend for doing so.

The same cannot be said for the Roosters - who unquestionably have the worst record of all when it comes to "managing" off field issues.

If there was any justice, the club would be looking at much more than Todd Carney's "behaviour" and his record, it would be looking at its own "performance", or lack thereof.

And it is a record the club should be ashamed of.

Two weeks ago the Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield contacted the Roosters CEO telling him he had been told that Carney was among a group of players who had been thrown out of a Woolloomooloo pub for 'loud and obnoxious" behaviour. The CEO replied that it could not be true because Carney was not drinking!

Well he may, or may not, be drinking, but what is he doing outside a Kings cross Hotel at 2AM on Tuesday morning? Outside the appropriately named Courthouse Hotel dressed in his "Sunday best" with equally well dressed Nate Myles and Frank-Paul Nu'usaala in tow.

Would he have been sprung there of the Club CEO had treated the Rothfield question with the seriousness it deserved?

There are no allegations of misbehaviour, but given Carney's record, and the Roosters on field record this year - not to mention a pact by the players a couple of weeks ago to stay off the drink - surely someone alerted the CEO, or the coach, that things might not be going as swimmingly with regard to Carney's "off the grog" undertaking when he fronted court, and the NRL CEO, early this year? And not to mention the tip from Phil Rothfield!

The focus this morning will be on Todd Carney. But it ought also be on the club's management.
And, quite frankly, they have been found wanting once again.

The NRL will do nothing about it. Should we be at all surprised?