Sandow loss Souths' own fault: Merritt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sandow loss Souths' own fault: Merritt

Ben Horne And David Beniuk 04/05/2011 06:19:21 PM Comments (0)

Star South Sydney winger Nathan Merritt has questioned why the club didn't make a serious play to lock up Chris Sandow, with the in-form halfback confirming a four-year deal with Parramatta on Wednesday thought to be worth $1.6 million.

While Rabbitohs hierarchy announced Sandow's departure early on Wednesday highlighting the amount of money the Eels were offering, Merritt suggested Souths officials only had themselves to blame.

"Definitely. They (Souths officials) should have jumped in early and tried to secure his signature earlier," said Merritt from City NSW Origin camp.

"It's probably their fault for not jumping in early enough.

"I think Souths were a bit worried if he was up to standard but he's shown over the last month that he can do the job."

Parramatta chief executive Paul Osborne had pushed that line earlier in the day, suggesting Souths didn't seem particularly interested in his services.

"We were a little surprised that one of the reasons we managed to get Chris here was there was probably a feeling from him that there wasn't a lot of interest from Souths, which we found intriguing," he said.

The Rabbitohs had come out all guns blazing on Wednesday morning, with Russell Crowe tweeting his disappointment and CEO Shane Richardson issuing a cryptic press release before most Souths fans had finished breakfast.

Crowe tweeted that Parramatta had offered Sandow $550,000 a season, while Richardson had a subtle dig at Parramatta and his halfback's motives by saying: "Unfortunately for us he has met his Alan Bond."

Osborne hit back at Crowe's decision to reveal the figure, saying Parramatta's offer was "reasonable", and denied he was rugby league's version of the failed business tycoon.

"I might look like Alan Bond, but I don't feel like him, no," said Osborne, who claimed Sandow's "magical" form of late justified the Eels' interest.

"I'm not going to comment on individual amounts and we won't do that now or at any time."

Osborne said Sandow had every right to feel hurt.

"I would be disappointed if I was a player ... it was a tough decision for Chris, there's no doubt about it," he said.

"Those people who were involved probably need to have a good look at themselves."

The dynamic No.7 said he had to think of his young family.

"No, it's not about the cash, I just want a new journey, new start for my life," Sandow said.

"I appreciate Souths for giving me the opportunity to play NRL.

"Heaps of people have been talking to me about not leaving Souths but I have to do what's best for me and I have three little kids now so I have to look after them before me."

Sandow denied he'd fallen out with Crowe over the move.

"He's going to be upset but ... he said if I go ahead and go to Parramatta he said he'll still be my mate ... and it's my choice."

It's not the first time Souths have earned the ire of rivals when it comes to contract negotiations.

Back in 2007, the Rabbitohs paraded Craig Wing at a press conference despite him still being under contract with the Sydney Roosters.

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