Sandow hopes for chance to shine
Indigenous All Stars halves frontrunner Chris Sandow has his fingers crossed he gets to partner captain Johnathan Thurston during the February 4 clash at Skilled Park – so he can plant a seed in the minds of Queensland selectors in the lead-up to next year's State of Origin series.
Emerging Maroons squad member Sandow knows a dominant halves performance by the pair could help him to graduate to Queensland's coveted top 17.
"It would be great to play with Johnathan… and if we build something that would be looking good for Origin," he told NRL.com. "It would be wonderful… he is a superstar of the NRL and just a real professional, how he goes on and off the field, which is something that I look up to.
"But I'm not looking too far ahead at the moment… I have just got to get pre-season out of the road and see how my body is going for round one next year."
A high-profile signing for the Eels in 2012, Sandow revealed improving his communication and playmaking skills would be his major focus over the off-season.
"My goal is to be consistent with my game and be more dominant with the ball in my hands," he said. "Just talking a lot with the boys, directing them around. And it is something I've got to really work hard on off the field as well, as in being close as mates."
With less than two weeks to go before voting for the Indigenous All Stars team closes on November 28, Sandow is leading the Gold Coast's Scott Prince and St George Illawarra's Jamie Soward in the halves battle.
Should he be selected, he says he can't wait to contribute to the Indigenous team's "freestyle footy" that he's sure will dazzle the crowd.
"Yeah that's what I plan to do if I get picked," he said. "I think with the Indigenous boys that's what they love best.
"That's what people want to go and see – you can't hold back any Indigenous players, how they play their freestyle footy… I think that's what crowds go to watch.
"It would be great to get a run and do the people proud, but you know if I don't get picked it's not going to be really haunting me."
Sandow said if he were selected it would give residents of his home town Cherbourg, 250 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, another reason to head to the Gold Coast.
"They'd think it would be wonderful," he said.
"To represent those guys would be a really big honour. It's a big one that I'm playing for the NRL and being from there, so it would be really great to [play All Stars]. There would be busloads of people from Cherbourg coming!"
Sandow played down any 'star' status in his home town.
"Not really… I'm just a normal person when I go back home, which is what I love," he said. "I just spend time with my family and friends when I go home."
Sandow added it would be a privilege to play alongside his former South Sydney teammates Nathan Merritt and Greg Inglis, with Inglis also making his debut if selected.
"It would be good to catch up with the boys again… I've been speaking to them on the phone and through texting," he said.
"Greg would have a big game [if selected]. I would be really happy to be involved in that because when he is on, he is on – it's hard to stop the big boy!"