The Waratahs kicked off their Super Rugby campaign with a nail-biting contest against the Stormers last weekend, but Mudgee’s Matt Sandell was forced to watch from the sidelines.
It’s been a long road to recovery for the rugby talent, who admitted he’s just eager to “get back out on the field” and finally “play some footy again”.
“It’s been really difficult, especially around the Mudgee trial last year where I was working towards fitness and then had some setbacks,” Sandell revealed. “The ‘Tahs have been great in getting me all the professional help that I need with it all, but I’m just keen to get back out on the field.”
“I want to just play footy again. I’m looking forward to being out there.”
For now, Sandell has his eyes locked on just getting back into playing footy and working through the end of his injuries.
The Mudgee product will take to the field for Sydney Uni in the coming weeks as he battles to return to match fitness, and is looking forward to “taking strategies and plays from the Waratahs to the club” that he started at in Sydney.
“It’s going to be great playing again, and the Waratahs blokes have basically said to me that I need to pressure the 23 (starting players) in the squad,” Sandell explained. “They’ve pointed at the club footy that I’m going to be playing and they said ‘show us some great performances and you’ll get your chance’”.
“They have been so great about rehabilitating me, and for now I want to repay that by showing what I can do to impress with Uni. Even while I’ve got that behind me, it’s going to be great just getting out on the field and tossing the footy around.
“You miss it when you’re not playing for a while, and that was one of the hardest things.”
Sandell had been on the Waratahs’ radar for some time and at the end of 2014 was selected in a six-man transition group to experience the top level program.
Now he’s been within the club culture for four years, and is still loving just being involved with the Super Rugby organisation.
“I know that I can get back here, the coaches have worked through a lot of the injury problems with me and now it’s up to me to prove the next step,” he said.
“For now, I’m going to put in 100% for Uni and give as much of my experience to them as I can. From there, who knows.”
Sydney Uni – which boasts the title of the oldest rugby club outside of the British Isles – will begin their campaign on April 7, when they welcome Parramatta for the opening round.
Sandell will also be involved in a number of trials for the Uni club in the lead up to the season.