No defence for Sandow's missed tackles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No defence for Sandow's missed tackles

By Todd Balym 17/04/2009 03:51:39 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney halfback Chris Sandow is on track to become just the eighth player in NRL history to chalk up more than 100 missed tackles in a season.

In fact, the league's 2008 rookie of the year is almost halfway there already with 41 missed tackles in five games and almost twice as many as the next worst in the NRL - North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston (23).

Only seven players in NRL history have conceded more than 100 tackles in a season - Brett Kimmorley, Issac De Gois, Thurston, Lincoln Withers, Brett Seymour, Preston Campbell and Rodney Howe.

Sandow's defence has been a concern for South Sydney over the opening weeks of the season and the 20-year-old second-season player faces his toughest assignment on Saturday at ANZ Stadium opposing Manly's Anthony Watmough.

Watmough is the most damaging forward in the league, ranked No.1 the past two seasons and is leading the way again this year for tackle breaks by a forward.

The Test second-rower terrorises defences running down the left edge, and right-hand side defender Sandow will have a bright red target on his chest for Watmough to run at this Saturday.

Rabbitohs coach Jason Taylor doesn't expect Sandow to be flawless in defence and as a former halfback he knows it will take some time for the 18-gamer to become conditioned to a high defensive workload.

"I've got no concerns with Chris in defence when he gets in there and really has a go," said Taylor.

"I don't expect him to make every tackle but I just want his commitment to be up there. It has been for the majority of the year.

"No doubt it is tough for those sort of players ... you look at players like Darren Lockyer; he has been putting up with that sort of stuff his entire career.

"All those players, they have to learn to deal with that and it comes with experience and over time they toughen up to it and know what they have to deal with.

"He is just going through that first phase of it right now ... it is all just a good learning curve for Chris.

"What he offers us right across the field in other areas is so important to us and makes up for any deficiencies (in defence).

"He is tough mentally and tough physically so he will get better."

Fellow halfback and South Sydney teammate Craig Wing said he has offered Sandow advice on how to deal with being a target in defence, but says the youngster is too gun-ho to listen.

While Sandow misses quite a few tackles, he is also capable of rattling a few cages with a heavy shot.

Wing believes Sandow is putting too much effort into making big shots rather than conserving energy by letting the bigger guys absorb some of his work.

"He is a very brave player and likes to try and put a shot on but he has got to just concentrate on trying to save himself a little bit," said Wing.

"He has to get smarter in that sense. I try to talk to him a little bit to try and push other players around, to use other players up rather than using himself up but he is a courageous little bloke and doesn't listen too much.

"(But his game) is improving each week and he learns from things that work and things that don't work.

"I'm sure we will have a better player out there this weekend after his game last week.

"He will bounce back. He is a good player and has a lot of footy ahead of him."

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