David Shillington June 29, 2012
Raiders skipper David Shillington at training. Photo: Colleen Petch
MANY people may have written off Sandor Earl as a mere token signing by the Raiders, but I believe he will prove a canny 'bargain basement' buy for us.
I know Sandor fairly well through our days at the Roosters and thought he was playing pretty well at the Panthers before he got injured.
His unbelievable try against us in the 2010 finals is the first thing that pops into your head when he's mentioned, and I'm confident he'll take his chance.
It would have been nice to add some experience to the backline, but what the 22-year-old can offer straight away is great, and his potential is fantastic.
Sandor is big, athletic and similar in build to someone like Jack Wighton. He'll be good for us and we definitely need him with so many injuries.
I think Sandor will be a similar mould to Jack, and I think there'll definitely be room for both of them if he sticks around next year.
It's tough throwing guys like Dimitri Pelo and Edrick Lee into the deep end in must-win pressure games, especially when there's a lack of confidence in the team.
Bringing in someone like our outstanding Toyota Cup halfback Mitch Cornish would be a similar situation. Sam Williams is a bit more experienced, and hopefully he can handle it a bit better.
On another note, I've played in a few representative games in the past, but I'm treating Wednesday night's Origin decider like it's the biggest match of my career.
You have to give New South Wales plenty of credit for the way they've played the first two games. It's certainly the best side that's been picked in recent years, and this series is the best they've played.
Origin just has that extra intensity and there's plenty of banter in the media with people firing shots at each other across the border.
There's been plenty of talk on the make-up of our Queensland side should Billy Slater be ruled out, and Cowboy Matt Bowen certainly did his chances no harm against Canberra last week. 'Mango' had a hand in at least four of the Cowboys' tries in our 40-18 loss in Townsville, and his combination with Johnathan Thurston may help tip the scales in his favour.
It helps when you have those players who have their club combinations down pat. Just look at what Melbourne's Cameron Smith, Slater and Cooper Cronk have done for us over the years.
David Shillington plays prop for the Canberra Raiders