Earl switch backed by his teammates

Raiders winger Sandor Earl. Photo: Katherine GriffithsSandor Earl’s Canberra teammates are not holding his pending switch to rugby union against him. In fact, Raiders skipper Terry Campese is encouraging it.

Earl (left) will join a French rugby union club at the end of the NRL season, but Campese – nephew of Wallabies great David Campese – has already given his kicking game a workout.

”I took him for a few torpedo kicks just to see what he had and some drop-kicks as well and he stood up to it,” Campese said.

Earl played for Randwick under-17s with Wallabies utility Kurtley Beale and NSW Waratahs winger Peter Betham before opting for league, where he has had stints at the Sydney Roosters, Penrith and now Canberra.

Campese felt that Earl’s natural athletic ability would stand him in good stead for the code switch.

Earl’s management contacted the ACT Brumbies earlier this year to sound out a possible cross-town move.

While the Brumbies turned him down, a French second-division club has offered him a contract believed to be about $220,000.

Earl has even considered following Israel Folau’s path to the AFL, having participated in a secret try-out with Essendon in 2012, arranged by controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank.

Nothing eventuated from that, but Campese was confident Earl would make a fist of rugby.

”He’s got a great leap on him and can kick the ball as well,” he said

”He tried out for AFL a few years ago. He’s got everything to his game and I wish him the best over there and [that he will] make the most of his opportunity.”

Raiders centre Jarrod Croker admitted he was shocked by Earl’s defection.

”I’ve become pretty good mates with him and I’ll support him … it was a bit [of a shock]. I didn’t really expect it, probably because it hasn’t been talked about a lot,” Croker said.

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