"I've never forgotten ... it's tough footy".
Justin Carney's much-hyped return to Group 11 has been a long-time coming but the human wrecking ball that spent a decade running straight over some of the toughest players in the world says doing the same to his bush footy brethren is still as tough as it was in the mid-2000s.
Carney marked his return at lock with the Tigers on Sunday at Forbes and his involvement was selective but effective as Nyngan knocked off the defending champions by 10 points.
He timed his output perfectly on most occasions and scored his side's first try of the 2019 season.
... they love the bush footy and I can't blame them for that, because I'm a sucker for it too.Tigers coach Justin Carney.
The former Raiders and Roosters winger sliced through out wide late in the piece, too, and showed a very clean pair of heels as he raced down field, but a pass to the supporting Ash Widders was ruled forward.
That error was a touch of round one rust but Carney's power and speed was a feature of his Group 11 homecoming.
"It's still the same," the new Tigers skipper smiled when asked of his first impressions of Group 11 in 2019.
"It's tough footy, grind it out footy.
"There's a lot of people that should be playing in Sydney but they love the bush footy and I can't blame them for that because I'm a sucker for it too."
Like all coaches after their first real hit-out of the season, Carney admits there's plenty to work on as Nyngan grapples with a host of new faces and a fluctuating list.
The likes of Josh Merritt and pommy prop Brad Clavering are still to come back into the Nyngan fold in the coming weeks, while Troy Evans and Dean Woods are in the same boat.
Carney, himselft too, says his game is a work in progress.
"I've got a lot to work on, I haven't played in the middle since I was 18, probably. It's different for me, but I'm enjoying it," he added.
"We're all real good mates here and that's what we turn up for, each other. I owe this win to these guys."
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