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Disgraced Canberra halfback Todd Carney is set to return to the NRL this season despite facing a range of serious driving charges.
Carney was due to appear in the ACT Magistrates Court today to face three charges - including negligent driving, but was represented by his lawyer Bill Andrews, with his case adjourned until next month. Raiders general manager Don Furner says the suspended Carney will have to complete a five-step rehabilitation plan enforced by the club before being allowed to play again.
No timeline for the plan has yet been set, but Furner says one month would be the absolute minimum with Carney likely to be back if the Raiders made the finals. While Carney's return is certain, the future of suspended teammate Steve Irwin remains unclear.
St George Illawarra's injury woes have deepened with four more big names ruled out of NRL action for extended periods.
Fullback and co-captain Ben Hornby is expected to miss four weeks with a calf injury, second rower Ashton Sims 4-6 weeks with a knee problem and five-eighth Dean Young 6-8 weeks after his troublesome knee flared again.
Winger Brett Morris has also been ruled out for an indefinite period with a shoulder injury, the worst-case scenario being a reconstruction. The news is most worrying for Young who underwent a knee reconstruction last year and needed several more operations to fully recover.
Elsewhere, Melbourne's Billy Slater will be sidelined for six weeks with cheekbone fractures, Manly prop George Rose will have a second operation on his right ankle and North Queensland veteran Paul Bowman will get scan results on a neck injury today.
Newcastle is picking up the pieces after their flogging by Brisbane on Sunday and the walk-out of forward Clint Newton yesterday. Newton, who played his 100th game in the record 71-6 loss to the Broncos, was granted a release to consider offers from rival NRL clubs and English club Harlequins.
The 25-year-old says he had been told by Knights coach Brian Smith he wasn't required next season ... a suggestion Smith denies. In a busy day of player movements, Luke MacDougall was released by St George Illawarra to link with the Knights and the Dragons signed half Jamie Soward after he was let go by the Sydney Roosters.