BRISBANE Mar 1 2012
Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin says high-priced Parramatta recruit Chris Sandow is a game-breaker - not a defensive risk - and will not be targeted by his players in Friday night's NRL showdown.
The Eels will trot out their $500,000-a-season purchase Sandow and Bulldogs cast-off Ben Roberts as their new halves pairing against Brisbane, who have 21-year-old Corey Norman taking over Darren Lockyer's No.6 jumper in a new halves combination of their own.
Sandow's defensive statistics of 138 missed tackles in 2011, the worst in the NRL, and his habit of rushing out of the defensive line to smash rivals were raised during the week.
But Griffin said on Thursday the livewire half was all quality and anything but a defensive risk.
Brisbane view Sandow as a similar style halfback to their champion No.7 Allan Langer who, despite some early defensive flaws, was able to turn a game on its head with his attacking genius.
"We won't be targeting him - we don't see him as a risk at all," said Griffin when Sandow's defensive shortcomings were raised after training.
In fact, his defensive stats were buried under Griffin's platitudes as he rated Sandow a "massive threat" to Brisbane starting 2012 with a win.
"He's a quality halfback, he can break the line and he's got a great kicking game - both long and short.
"There's a reason why they paid so much money to get him out there.
"He's a real quality player."
Griffin said with Roberts also out to prove a point, Parramatta's halves pairing represented massive threats.
"Roberts got stuck in reserve grade last year but he played Test football for New Zealand a few seasons ago and he'd be busting for an opportunity," said Griffin.
Wayne Heming - AAP
The latest racing news.
From radio KJR in Seattle with what's happenning in US sport.
Former Qld Origin player and host of ‘NRL 360’ tonight on Fox Sports is part of our rugby league team.
Aussie opener. We are out of the Champions trophy after yesterday's loss to Sri Lanka.
Wallabies forward. The first test against the British and Irish Lions is on Saturday in Brisbane.
Former Socceroo goalie. Last night we qualified for Brazil by beating Iraq 1-0 in Sydney.