2014: ROUND 14

vs Parramatta

Match Details
Match Date 15th Jun, 2014
Opponent Parramatta
Result Loss
Coach Des Hasler
Captain Michael Ennis
Venue Homebush (ANZ Stadium)
Crowd 24,012
Referee Matt Cecchin
Henry Perenara

The NRL’s most scrutinised investment might be finally paying dividends. The $550,000 a season Parramatta shelled out for Chris Sandow was everything from sniggered at to plain ridiculed as a classic case of a club paying overs as he languished in reserve grade.

On Sunday, however, as he smashed apart the theory that the Eels can’t win without Jarryd Hayne, it was looking very much like money well spent.

Free of the gambling and fitness demons that have stifled the career of such a rich talent, Sandow was a player at ease with himself in the vastness of ANZ Stadium, and Des Hasler’s undermanned Canterbury were on the receiving end.

An unlikely replacement for State of Origin-bound Hayne at fullback, the 25-year-old revelled in the freedom handed to him by Brad Arthur, setting up two tries and proving a constant handful by chiming into the back line in the way the Eels and NSW No.1 has made his name.

Sandow won’t be threatening Hayne’s position when he is back from NSW duty – Arthur will happily shift him back to halfback – but Sunday’s heavily guarded experiment proved a masterstroke as Parramatta won for the first time in 15 games at ANZ Stadium.

‘‘Chrissy’s strength is to run the footy,’’ Arthur said. ‘‘So I thought why not put him at fullback and we’ll bring Luke [Kelly] in, and Corey [Norman] can sort of control the game and Chrissy can run. Obviously Jarryd is really good defensively for us, getting the numbers on the tryline right, but Chrissy’s job was to run the ball.’’

He could hardly have done that better, dominating almost from the outset when he raced clear after only five minutes and stepped a couple of defenders. As good a Hayne impersonation as could have been asked for, another break gave winger Vai Toutai the first of his double and, in a cameo at halfback later on, he laid on the first of another pair to centre Ryan Morgan.

The Eels, more accustomed to propping up the competition ladder since Sandow arrived from South Sydney, are only two points behind leaders Penrith.

The Bulldogs lacked cohesion and venom without NSW halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson, who Hasler replaced by shifting captain Michael Ennis to halfback.

If a prime example of clubs’ difficulties during the rep period was needed, this was Exhibit A.

‘‘It’s something the NRL or the [ARL] Commission or whoever is running the show have got to look at,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘We need State of Origin, it’s a wonderful product we all know that. But you ask the Dallas Cowboys or someone like that to go into a game without their quarterback because you’ve got State of Origin on.’’

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Player Position Tries Goals F Goals Points
Sam Perrett Fullback 0 0 0 0
Corey Thompson Wing 2 0 0 8
Mitch Brown Wing 0 0 0 0
Krisnan Inu Centre 0 1 0 2
Tim Lafai Centre 0 0 0 0
Josh Jackson Five Eighth 0 0 0 0
Michael Ennis Half Back 0 1 0 2
Dale Finucane Lock 0 0 0 0
Tony Williams Second Row 0 0 0 0
Greg Eastwood Second Row 0 0 0 0
James Graham Front Row 0 0 0 0
Sam Kasiano Front Row 0 0 0 0
Damien Cook Hooker 0 0 0 0
Reni Maitua Replacement 0 0 0 0
Pat O'Hanlon Replacement 0 0 0 0
Tim Browne Replacement 0 0 0 0
David Klemmer Replacement 0 0 0 0
Total: 2 2 0 12