Earl: "This is the game I've been waiting all pre-season for"
Friday 8 March 2013 11:50 AM
It’s the game that Sandor Earl has been thinking about all pre-season; round one against the team that let him go mid-way through last year, the Penrith Panthers.
Earl arrived at the Canberra Raiders from the foot of the Mountains in round 17 last year and in his 12 appearances enjoyed a winning percentage of 75% as well as compiling an impressive array of statistics along the way.
The 23 year old registered 8 brilliant tries, 6 line breaks, 9 offloads, 41 tackle breaks as well as averaging 122.9 metres with the ball in hand.
Earl has well and truly made Canberra his home and is striving to get one back on his former club and kick-start the Green Machine’s year with a win.
“There is definitely some extra motivation there for myself this Sunday against the Panthers,” revealed Earl.
“It’s exciting. I got the chance to play them last year and it was probably a bit awkward but I can’t wait to go back this year for round one and hopefully we can get the win. I’m definitely a Raider now and I’ve had a good pre-season and hopefully we can smash them.
“Last year was good but this year, going out there for round one in the Raiders jersey it will be great to get out there and get a really good win.”
Whilst he only left the club last year, Earl is predicting an unpredictable Panthers line-up on Sunday due to the vast amount of new faces as a result of the club’s cleanout in 2012.
“Penrith will be good, I think that they’ll surprise a few people,” said Earl.
“Obviously a lot of players have left so there are a lot of new faces there but I do maintain contact with a few of them so there’s a bit of friendly banter there.
“I’ve put what happened with me and the club behind me. Last year was a bit of a whirlwind but it was exciting and I probably didn’t get my head around it until later on in the year.
“I’m focused on getting a win this weekend though. They’re a tough team but we’re looking at going there for a big start to the season so hopefully we get a good win.”
One thing Earl is certain of though is that he will be expecting a hostile reception from the Penrith faithful, not that it will bother him though.
“Centrebet Stadium is one of those grounds where the crowd is quite close and I’m on the wing so I’d imagine the blonde hair would attract a few comments which I always happen to hear,” laughed Earl.
“That won’t worry me one bit if we get the two points though. I personally feel great and I’m sure everyone else does too. That showed in our trials with our defence and our fitness.
“All we can do is focus on the things that we’ve worked on and that’s been our main goals of consistency, working on our defence and our fitness. I think if we can show that, with the attacking weapons that we’ve got, we can’t go wrong.”