THEY’VE dubbed him the Aboriginal Alfie – a roguish Queensland mission boy now charged with saving Souths. Boom Rabbitoh Chris Sandow will give desperate fans a snapshot of the future tonight when he finally debuts against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.
Labelled a better Australian Schoolboy prospect than even Mitchell Pearce and Israel Folau, he now has the chance to prove it in the Bunnies’ plagued No.7 jersey.
“I have no doubt Chris can lift Souths out of the doldrums,” Fox Sports commentator Scott Sattler said last night. “He was Queensland’s No.1 halfback in his teens and a kid you just knew was going to make it to the top.
“This time next year … I think everyone will be talking about Chris Sandow.”
North of the border it seems everyone already has a story about this Murri from Cherbourg, the same mission town that produced Australian Test centre Willie Tonga.
Like how Sandow and Folau played with Centenary in the Brisbane competition, winning a junior final with 11 players and a female coach.
“He’s definitely got that Alfie Langer about him,” Australian Schoolboys coach Brendan Barlow said. “A lot of people doubted Chris because he is so small.
“But you only need see his competitiveness and skill. His short kicking game is definitely his biggest asset … he knows how to get that ball back.”
Still only 19, there has already been plenty of drama too. Brisbane, for example, said the 173cm Sandow was too small. Ditto North Queensland. And the Gold Coast signed him to a lucrative contract … only to tear itup again before the deal was up.
“Chris had a few problems off the field,” said Sattler, who was Titans football manager in their inaugural season. “He was going home a fair bit, no one could find him and we had to terminate his contract because we couldn’t afford to bend the rules.
“But he was too good a player to throw on the scrapheap and thankfully South Sydney picked him up. Getting away from Queensland was the best thing for him. I have no doubt letting him go will come back to hurt the club, but sometimes you have to do these things.”
Climbing on to a plane for Auckland last night, Souths Toyota Cup coach Alan Wilson described Sandow as “a clever little halfback with great awareness”.
Wilson said the No.7 also had a goalkicking success rate of 84 per cent this year – and four of his misses have hit the uprights”.