Roosters coach Brian Smith remains confident star playmaker Todd Carney is on track to return for next weekend’s clash against Manly despite aggravating a groin injury on Friday. Speculation Carney would be an 11th hour inclusion against South Sydney was wide of the mark as the Dally M medallist sat out his side’s thrilling 40-29 victory. “Some of you people scared his mum this morning so much she was ready to get in her car and drive down (to Sydney from Goulburn),” Smith said in reference to newspaper reports suggesting Carney would play in the season opener. “He was never every going to play,” Smith said. “Up until Monday he was a chance but Toddy ruled himself out on Monday. He knew he wasn’t quite right, he’s trained pretty well every day.” “To be absolutely honest, today he had a little aggravation which we want to see how it goes (on Saturday), but nobody’s too worried about it and we think he’ll be ready to go next weekend.” Meanwhile, Smith lauded his side’s ability to regroup after the Bunnies came from 28-6 down to take a one-point lead in the 73rd minute. “It was obviously a fantastic spectacle and I’m sure all the fans at home and the 30,000-odd that were here would have enjoyed it but from a coaching point of view we had a great start and a sensational finish,” he said. “The composure I’m really pleased with, our guys were able to regain their mental composure and get the job done.” But the veteran coach put his players on notice after finishing on the wrong end of a lop-sided penalty count. “Most of those penalties were down to us,” he conceded. “There’s a couple of blokes in our team (Jake Friend and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves) that are sailing very close to the wind about staying in our team because penalties just kill you.” “You just can’t survive in this comp, any team is good enough to whack points on in a hurry … concede penalties and perish.”

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