Saunders Lands in the NEST

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles off season signing Andy Saunders caught up with Trev Smith leading into this weekends opening round of Canterbury Cup NSW clash against Western Suburbs Magpies at Leichhardt Oval and they spoke about the pre-season, Andys back ground and a few other things. Please read below to find out what was said.

TS – You’re new to Blacktown and what were your expectations before arriving and how have you fitted in?

AS – My expectation was to come here and train hard. Halesy ( Steven Hales Canterbury Cup NSW Coach) told everyone what the expectations would be when we started back in November and I have to admit we have trained harder than most full time squads throughout the pre-season and everyone is fit and strong so hopefully it’ll show out on the field.

TS – Where did you play your junior rugby league?

AS – I grew up in a small county town called Quirindi which is about a 45 minute drive from Tamworth in country New South Wales. I played for the Quirindi Grass Hoppers. At the age of Seventeen I moved to Sydney and played SG Ball and Holden Cup with the Penrith Panthers. I then played a season with the Canterbury Bulldogs before returning to Penrith the following season and now I’m here at Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles.

TS – Talking about your first day here at Blacktown. I believe you nearly beat the club record in the bench press?

AS – Yes I nearly did beat it I believe but I know for sure it wasn’t for my squats.

TS – Earlier you mentioned Halesy for laying down the expectation for you when you first arrived. How has he been since you have arrived and how do you find him as a coach?

AS – He (Steven Hales) is really good at what he does as a coach and he knows his trade really well. He knows how to get the best out of the players by having a great relationship with us all and it also helps when recruiting players to come to the club, as he is really professional and it was one of the reasons why I signed with Blacktown.

TS – When you were at Canterbury Des Hasler was coaching first grade there at the time and he gave you your debut in the NRL. With Des now coaching Manly did that help persuade you to sign with Blacktown?

AS – Absolutely it did help me to make my mind up to come to Blacktown as I know Des on a personal level and Blacktown being the feeder team to Manly it’ll be good to become a full time rugby league player again and get the opportunity to work with Des again. I believe Des got the best out of me during my time at Canterbury and I know what I need to do to get that opportunity again and that is by playing great here at Blacktown and train hard.

TS – I’ll like to bring up a certain incident that happened earlier on in your career while you were playing for the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis and the famous stand off. What were you thinking at the time when the boys from across The Tasman were doing the Haka?

AS – To be honest it all happened really fast. It was all just fun and games in the heat of the moment. Tensions were at a high between both squads as we just wanted to win and neither of us wanted to take a backwards step. To be honest the media made it out to be worse than what it was but after the game both teams got together had a few beers and good laugh about the incident.

TS – Lastly if you weren’t playing rugby league what would you be doing for a living?

AS – I’m actually an accounts manager for a building company. It has it’s challenges just like out on the rugby league field but I really enjoy my job and I’m thankful for all of the opportunities that has come my way since my up bringing in Quirindi.

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