A media blitzkrieg has erupted recently over the future of enigmatic South Sydney Rabbitohs playmaker Chris Sandow. Apart from Rabbitohs and Parramatta Eels supporters, rugby league fans are wondering why this is the case.
Granted Sandow can dazzle on his day and has won a handful of games for Souths with a breath taking last ditch play to get his team over the line. But it’s the countless lost weekends where the Rabbitohs have failed to fire that sparks the question. Why hasn’t there been fire?
Souths coaches and players alike have time and time again given reasons why they haven’t made the Finals. How injuries to key forwards have hindered their progress. How they simply just didn’t rock up to play footy and how for some apparent reason, the team was just “flat” on game day.
Sandow and John Sutton, to a lesser degree, always seem to escape the firing line.
Since Sandow debuted in 2008 Souths have finished 14th, 10th and 9th. A steady rise up the ladder most definetely. But if you take into consideration the superstar players that have been signed around him in that time, surely the rise up the table should have been steeper.
Now the mighty bunnies sit second last in 2011 with a 2-5 start to the year.
But through all the clichés, excuses and sacked coaches there may well just be a silver lining. A silver lining in the shape of future head coach Michael Maguire. Maguire is one of Craig Bellamy’s most impressive apprentices who is currently coaching the Wigan Warriors in the English Super League.
Maguire will bring new ideas and new mentalities to the club that may shock some players. Maguire is a perfectionist and a real taskmaster in pre-season.
So if Sandow was to take the challenge (money) and sign with the Eels, what would Maguire do?
He would bring in someone that can control a game on a week to week basis. He would bring in someone that knows how to run a ship and let Sutton flow in and out of the game when need be. He would bring a Brett Finch or a Craig Gower.
These men may not be around for an extended amount of time but one or the other may just bring the Rabbitohs that elusive Grand Final. Who wouldn’t want to run that side?
“He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s the biggest asset for any club,” said Rabbitohs prop Ben Ross.
“Any club who gets him, he will be the ultimate asset. He’s got the will-to-win and the drive”.
Ben Ross has won a premiership with Gower. He knows.
Sandow will no doubt mature with time and may even represent Queensland one day. But in a time where performances and records stand far above potential and loyalty, Sandow just may well be in a blue and gold jersey next year.