Ben Hunt’s departure from Red Hill leaves a pretty sizeable gap in the Bronco’s line-up, but Chris Sandow could be on his way to filling the vacancy.
Sandow’s career has been turbulent of late, with a serious of twists and turns dropping the Cherbourg junior to the NRL scrap heap. He left South Sydney for a lucrative four-year deal with the Parramatta Eels, but spent his time out west doing his best embodiment of a ‘rocks and diamonds’ halfback.
The hot and cold routine grew thin with coach Brad Arthur, releasing Sandow midway through 2015 to join the Warrington Wolves in the Super League. While his first few games were rough, the 2016 season saw the best of Sandow shine through, guiding his club to the Challenge Club final. Playing his best football in years, all was finally right in the world of Chris Sandow. Wrong.
Sandow’s manager confirmed the former Indigenous All Star refused to return to Warrington, walking out to return to the NRL. Wrong again. Footage emerged of Sandow brawling on the streets of Cherbourg, a sure knock-out punch to his first-grade career. Until yesterday, that was.
Sandow has finally signed a contract for the 2017 season, earning a spot for the Norths Devils, one of Brisbane’s feeder clubs. Sandow will be rubbing shoulders with the blokes who fail to feature in Wayne Bennett’s top 17. Benji Marshall. Francis Molo. Tautau Moga. Sandow finally has a chance to prove himself amongst NRL talent.
Undoubtedly, the strength of Ben Hunt’s game is his running game. His passing game comes in handy as well. Both those talents are attributes Sandow possesses in spades. He’s quick, evasive and put the ball on a winger’s chest, whether it be from a kick or a pass. Add in a few 40/20s, and he could be a real asset to Brisbane’s attacking game.
One thing really lacking throughout Chris Sandow’s career is a real elite coach. No offence to the likes of John Lang, Stephen Kearney and Brad Arthur, but they’ve never been at the top of the tree in the coaching world. The likes of Des Hasler, Craig Bellamy, Michael Maguire and Trent Robinson. Wayne Bennett could well be the man to turn Sandow into a bona fide superstar.
There’s a real lack of talented halves off-contract in 2017, with quality halfbacks as rare as hen’s teeth in the modern day. They haven’t exactly kept quiet bout the fact they want Ash Taylor back at the club, and they have Kane Elgey in the back of their mind as well. But with those two locked in with the Gold Coast until 2018, Sandow could be their man.
Now in the Bronco’s system, Sandow has the challenge of climbing the ranks to earn a fresh start. Bennett could pull something similar to how Canberra gave Dave Taylor a train-and-trial pre-season, make him earn his keep. But the combination of Anthony Milford and Sandow is tantalising to say the least, no limit to their attacking prowess. But if he wants to wear the number seven at Red Hill, it’s time for the rebirth of Chris Sandow to begin.