Friend or foe?: Former Panthers speedster Sandor Earl, who exited the club at the end of June, will return to Centrebet Stadium when the Panthers host the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Picture: Colleen PetchLOOK who’s back.
Sandor Earl appears strikingly fearsome in a Canberra jumper but the former Panthers winger, who evolved into a Raider just six weeks ago, won’t be venturing to Centrebet Stadium on Sunday with a raging axe to grind.
Rather, he’ll be carrying a mixed bag of emotions as he prepares to become the enemy on his former team’s turf.
“I’ve been trying not to think about the game to be honest but now it’s come around, it’s definitely exciting,” Earl said.
“It’ll be weird running out at the stadium in a white and green jersey but at the same time an awesome experience for me, a great challenge and hopefully I can have a really good game and come away with the two points.
Unable to earn a consistent spot in the Panthers’ first grade line-up, Earl was granted a mid-season transfer at the end of June and joined the Raiders, where he’s played first grade ever since.
He’s hoping to sign a new two-year deal with the Raiders soon and said he felt no bad blood towards the Panthers for not offering him similar opportunities.
“There’s no resentment at all,” Earl said.
“It is what it is and I owe a lot to the club, they gave me my real head start in the NRL and made me what I am today.”
While he’s bearing no axe, Earl still has his pride.
And as he battles the Panthers this weekend, he’s eager to make the club’s supremos think twice about their decision to let him go.
“Obviously I’ve got a point to prove — I want to try and show that maybe I shouldn’t have left,” Earl said.
“And show them what they’re missing out on.”
One former teammate set to stand opposite Earl is Panthers lock Cameron Ciraldo, who agreed it would “be a bit different” competing against the flyer.
“Obviously he was a popular bloke amongst the boys but that’s footy these days,” Ciraldo said.
“People change clubs so often, you basically know players at every club, so you’ve got to deal with that every week.
“Obviously he’ll be looking for a big performance so hopefully we can contain him.”
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