Ready for a tough encounter ... Chris Sandow. Photo: Getty Images
Parramatta halfback Chris Sandow admits he ''got off lightly'' the last time he played against his former teammates, but knows he'll be taunted this afternoon at ANZ Stadium given South Sydney are now finals bound.
The former Souths halfback is expecting to be heckled by the Rabbitohs players and fans, who will show no sympathy by reminding him of the Eels' gloomy predicament.
"They didn't actually say much to me the first time around -the guys there aren't like that over there," he said. "But I think this time, because we're at the bottom of the ladder and they're going into the finals, I'll probably hear a few more things coming from them this time around.
"It's going to be tough going up against the boys again. They gave us a bit of a touch-up last time, so hopefully we can give it back to them this time."
While there are only two rounds remaining in Parramatta's forgettable season, they will train right up until the grand final, with new coach Ricky Stuart hell-bent on introducing a winning culture at the underperforming club.
Sandow backed the decision to continue training until the end of September, even at the expense of many of his teammates' travel plans.
"I think it's good because instead of going away and getting fat, we'll train up until the grand final, which is good. We'll be training while the teams in the finals are, but we won't be playing for anything. I think the boys who've booked holidays a few months ago will have to cancel, but this is what the coach wants so we'll do it.
"I was going back to Cherbourg [in Queensland], that's all. Cherbourg can wait, it's not going to run away. It's important we start our time under Ricky on the right foot.''
The Eels, who must win at least one game in the final two rounds to avoid the wooden spoon, are determined to send veterans Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt into retirement on a positive note.
Although Souths have lost their past two matches, Eels forward Justin Horo is refusing to underestimate Michael Maguire's men. "They've come up against two quality teams in Cronulla and Manly over the last two weeks and walked away with nothing," he said. "They'll definitely be wanting to turn their season around against us leading into the finals. But we've got a lot to play for as well. We don't want to end up with the spoon. We don't want to send Hindy and Burty off in the wrong way with three losses in a row.''