Souths cut Paea as Sandow shines - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Souths cut Paea as Sandow shines

By David Beniuk 30/06/2008 05:14:17 PM Comments (0)

Boom South Sydney halfback Chris Sandow has been given a boost in his quest to become the NRL club's long-term No.7 with the Rabbitohs withdrawing an offer to main rival Eddie Paea.

Nineteen-year-old Sandow's rise to the top grade has coincided with Souths' run of three straight wins after their first 11 games this season had brought just one victory.

The Gold Coast discard has also slotted crucial field goals in two of those matches, including a cool 80th minute one-pointer on Saturday night to snare a remarkable 29-28 comeback win over North Queensland.

Highly rated Paea, 20, was considered the Rabbitohs' long-term halfback as the season began and had four games in first grade earlier this year.

"They made an offer earlier in the piece and withdrew it not long after that," Paea's manager, Sam Ayoub, said.

"They've shown a reluctance to take it any further so we're just naturally assuming that their interest isn't there."

Ayoub said Souths had pulled out before the meteoric rise of Sandow, who was cut loose by the Titans last year after a series of off-field issues.

The manager said he was speaking with other NRL clubs about a deal for Paea.

"We're talking to two clubs, they're showing some good, genuine interest," he said.

"(We're looking) in the NRL at the moment but there certainly would be no shortage of interest overseas in him, that's for sure."

Ayoub refused to name the interested clubs but added some intrigue by saying: "They're both reasonably delicate given the players that they have."

Reports have suggested the New Zealand Warriors are in the market for a half and Paea has a connection there after touring with the Kiwis Test squad.

Penrith are also depleted in the halves department with utility Luke Lewis currently wearing the No.7 jersey.

Souths coach Jason Taylor has used seven halfbacks so far this season after gun off-season buy Craig Wing was injured in round one.

Wing returned on Saturday night at five-eighth.

Sandow's promotion has been part of an overhaul of the Rabbitohs after their woeful start to the season, with veterans Nigel Vagana, Shannon Hegarty, Dean Widders and Jeremy Smith finding themselves on the outer.

Souths have also released half Ben Rogers to St George Illawarra.

Forward David Kidwell said Sandow had made a big difference to the side.

"His kicking game and just the way he plays the game, it's been great for the team," Kidwell said.

"Confidence is something that Chris Sandow doesn't lack, that's for sure. He's a cheeky wee bugger but that's part of his make-up and that's how he plays his football and it's been great for us."

The Rabbitohs will shoot for four straight wins when they take on the Bulldogs, who have lost seven of their last eight games, on Monday night at ANZ Stadium.

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