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Penrith junior, a member of the club's 1987 reserve grade premiers, found immediate success with Souths in 1990. A surprise choice as a reserve for the one-off Test against France at Parkes (having not played State of Origin) he then won a place on the Kangaroo tour. Carroll made only six appearances on tour but was consistently one of Souths' best players in the early 1990s. He moved to Manly in 1994 where his skill as a tough, attacking forward continued to improve, but despite being a shadow player for NSW and the Australian Test team, he failed to make a second Kangaroo Tour at the end of the year.

Carroll's international career gained a boost with the Super League split in 1995 when he gained a belated NSW jersey. Despite being suspended and missing the State of Origin match in Melbourne, he was selected for Australia to play against NZ. A member of Australia's victorious World Cup team in 1995. His appearances against NZ. Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Best of the World teams over the next two years boosted his Test total to 12 matches. While Carroll obviously enjoyed playing in a stronger pack at Manly, three consecutive grand final appearances (1995-97) garnered just the one premiership success, in 1996. At the end of 1997 he left Manly to play for the London Broncos and rejoined Souths in 1999.