Injury has spared Chris Sandow an official demotion to the NSW Cup on Saturday.
The Parramatta halfback was dropped by coach Ricky Stuart for the Eels’ western Sydney derby against Penrith at Parramatta Stadium. However, the club says a minor injury to his right lower leg, picked up during their 50-10 defeat to Manly on Monday night, makes him unavailable for feeder team Wentworthville Magpies.
”We’ve been struggling in the halves a little bit so it would have been handy to have him,” Wentworthville coach Brett Cook said. ”I had planned both ways. We hadn’t seen him all week because he’s been in the rehab group [from the injury].”
The last-placed Eels enter the clash with Penrith having lost six games in a row, the most recent of which at Brookvale Oval prompted Stuart to discard the $550,000-a-season halfback.
Meanwhile, departing Raiders halfback Sam Williams hopes to get more of an opportunity at the Dragons and wants to prove he deserves a second year. The Dragons secured the 22-year-old Country representative to a one-year deal for next season.
There is also an option in the Dragons’ favour for 2015. While grateful to the Raiders after joining their system when he was 14, Williams turned down their offer in search of a greater chance of becoming a regular first-grader. He should get that at the Dragons as they rebuild. A potential halves combination of Williams and Melbourne Storm pivot Gareth Widdop is an exciting prospect for Dragons fans, to go with the addition of Raiders second-rower Joel Thompson, English prop Mike Cooper and Souths centre Dylan Farrell.
”They’ve done a lot of recruiting over the past six months, so hopefully we can gel and the club as a whole can move forward,” Williams said. ”To be going to a new club is a little bit bizarre, but … hopefully I’ve got more of an opportunity down there.”
Williams has played 40 games at the top level since his debut in 2011, but hasn’t been sighted since round seven. The Dragons tried to get Williams before the June 30 deadline so he could play for them this season, but the Raiders declined to release him.
”I was always contracted to the Raiders this year, so going early was never something I was too worried about,” Williams said. ”It dragged out a little bit longer than what I would’ve liked … It was about finding the right deal that suited us.”
By signing Williams, the Dragons will have seven former Raiders players on their books.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.