Eels' Sandow forced to NSW Cup
Parramatta halfback Chris Sandow's fall from grace continued on Tuesday when the man touted as the Eels' saviour was ordered to play in the NSW Cup.
The Eels had hoped Sandow, lured to the struggling NRL club on a deal reportedly worth $550,000, would be the perfect foil to star fullback Jarryd Hayne and the key ingredient that would help return them to the finals in 2012.
But Sandow has come under fire for his weight and form, with Eels great Peter Sterling suggesting the Queensland hopeful was "four to five kilos overweight".
As a result Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney, who is in New Zealand with the Kiwi team preparing for Friday's Test with Australia, made the decision to name Sandow at halfback for Wentworthville to face Canterbury this week.
It is understood that with the Eels enjoying a bye this round, Kearney wants Sandow to play for the Magpies to maintain match fitness and gain some confidence rather than return to his home town of Cherbourg.
The final straw for Kearney that caused him to lose patience with Sandow came in Sunday's narrow loss to Cronulla.
With the Eels trailing by six, Sandow, struggling with a shoulder injury, was hooked by Kearney with ten minutes to play.
It happened minutes after the halfback had been put into a gap by Hayne, but failed to skip away for a potentially match-tying try.
After the match Kearney admitted his frustrations over his young star.
"Obviously he was going down a fair bit in the back end of that second half, and with the game in the balance or with the situation that it was, I made the call to pull him off," Kearney said after the match.
"I am disappointed at how the whole team is going at the moment, and obviously Chris is a part of it.
"He can certainly contribute a lot more to the team than he is at the moment."
Wentworthville coach Brett Cook usually discusses potential team changes with Kearney early in the week, which has seen him gain Parramatta veteran Luke Burt and forward Justin Horo for the bulk of this season.
But he only found out about Sandow's availability for their clash with Canterbury late on Tuesday afternoon as news filtered through from the Eels club.
"The position I'm in I never really know until the end if he is playing or if he's not, but anyone who comes back with (Sandow's) experience is a bonus to our guys," Cook told AAP.
"It's usually done for a reason to get blokes a bit more footy and a bit of a run in most cases."
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