This Chris Sandow saga keeps rumbling on, doesn’t it?
Sandow will be a Wire player next year, that bit seems all signed and sealed. Whether or not he arrives in Warrington for the remainder of this year is yet to be seen.
The former Souths scrum half has until Saturday to secure the release from his Parramatta contract that he so desperately seeks.
The sticking point is, as ever, the $$$$. Sandow claims he is owed up to $200,000 in third party sponsorship deals, but the Eels board are digging their heels in, claiming the deals were conducted under a previous administration and therefore nothing to do with them.
Parra coach Brad Arthur seems to have had enough of the troubled half back and has been quoted in the Australian press as saying he would happily let him go if the Eels didn’t have to pay him the remainder of his contract, though reports from Sydney newspapers suggest they have offered him $50,000 severance pay in the hope he will take it and leave.
Sandow has had a chequered career so far. He was named NRL rookie of the year in 2008 and looked destined for stardom, but off-field disciplinary problems and inconsistency on the pitch have hindered his progress in the game.
He spent four seasons at South Sydney before moving to Parramatta on a reported $2.2 million contract. His ability when on form made him worthy of such a deal for the Western Sydney club, but he has failed to hit the heights in the blue and gold.
His well-publicised problem with Gambling saw him check into a rehab centre in Australia during 2013, cutting his season that year to just 15 appearances. He has also had issues with his fitness and consistency, with some questioning his attitude at times. So much so, that no matter who he is contracted to, he won’t be wearing any blue and yellow jersey for at least two weeks due to a shoulder charge during last week’s loss to arch rivals Canterbury.
We believe that if Tony Smith can instil the same level of discipline and consistency into the young man from Kingaroy (can’t do the accent) that he did in a certain former mercurial half back, then maybe, just maybe, the club can move on from the massive trauma inflicted on it by Lee Briers’ retirement.
Of course, Kurt Gidley has been signed for next season already – in a much more serene manner. No sweary Facebook rants or wrangles over payments from the Newcastle man. If anything, he seems intent on leaving the Knights on a high and has continued to put in good levels of performance this year for his hometown club.
The plan appeared to have Gidley at Six as the brains of the partnership and Sandow at Seven doing the leg work; they could be the perfect foils for each other, however speculation has been rife recently over the possible arrival of another half back, with Rangi Chase submitting a transfer request at Salford. We have heard from a reliable source that Wire have submitted a ‘tentative, yet official enquiry’, which perhaps explains why we haven’t offered to stump up a transfer fee for an early release of Sandow when it would seem like the quick fix to the stalemate.
That would certainly change things looking towards next season, with the possibility of Sandow and Chase at halfback with Gidley at full back, presumably pushing Stefan Ratchford out to centre, plugging the void left by the departure of Chris Bridge to the smellies.
But as far as this year goes, the arrival of either Chase or Sandow – or both – could provide a much-needed boost going into the Super Eights series and, hopefully, the Cup final.