WHILE England and New Zealand have called for Canberra winger Sandor Earl to swear his allegiance to them in this World Cup year, his sights are set on representing City Origin against Country at Coffs Harbour.
The 23-year-old said he wanted 2013 to be the year when he fulfilled his dream to become an Australian representative player. The one-time underwear model nicknamed ''Princess'' has been through rugby league's grinder with injuries, being let go by the Sydney Roosters in the aftermath of a night out in 2010 and then being sent packing mid-season from Penrith last year to join the finals-bound Raiders.
''There was a bit of talk about England and me after they realised I was eligible to play for them because my grandfather came from there,'' Earl said. ''The talks didn't progress too far because there were no games [being played] but if I was asked to play for them towards the end of the year, I'd look at it.''
Kiwi-born but Sydney-bred, he played in the 2010 New Zealand Maori team that drew 18-18 with England. ''I'm lucky to be eligible for so many countries but my goal is to play for City Origin, NSW and Australia,'' said Earl, who also boasts Hungarian blood.
''I really want to crash into the City Origin team. I went into a Muay Thai training camp in Thailand over Christmas, and it was good to think I was training when others might've been resting or taking life a bit easier. On Christmas day I did a yoga session, some cross-fit training, and in the afternoon did an MMA grappling session, and I learned some good things that'll help me in league. Now I'm home and bunkered down for nine tough months.''
However, Earl insisted he spoke from experience when he said the brutal toll rugby league took on the human body did not compare to the other challenges he'd endured.
''When you go through the lows and the highs - the injuries and all that - I'm happy to think I've worked hard for everything I've received,'' he said. ''I don't feel like I've made it because I haven't. There are low times, like being discarded by a club, and when that happens there's a fear you'll be forgotten. The funny thing is in every low point, like doing my own preseason training because I had no club, I found the high point of my career was waiting just around the corner. I learned you don't drop your head, you keep going.
''I still feel that at the back end of last season I was only at 70 per cent physically and everything else. This year I feel as though I'm at 100 per cent. I think I can take my game to a new level.''
If it all goes to plan, Earl could be strutting his stuff at the World Cup in England. Although the colour of his jumper might still be a mystery.