Hello Sailor as Wendell joins Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hello Sailor as Wendell joins Dragons

By Steve Jancetic 12/05/2008 06:41:50 PM Comments (0)

It took all of a couple of minutes on Monday for Wendell Sailor to remind the rugby league world that one of the game's true personalities was back.

The dual international confirmed on Monday he signed with St George Illawarra through to the end of the 2009 NRL season, but his signature on contract wasn't what had lured the media throng to Wollongong.

They were there for two reasons - to see what shape the former Brisbane, Queensland and Australian rugby league star was in after two year's out with a drug ban, and whether his time away had curbed his charismatic ways.

His image in a tight-fitting red v jumper showed he was in good nick with room for a few kilos to be wasted, but the verbal signal proved the real Del was ready.

"I'd say I'm quicker than before," the 33-year-old said.

"I got to do a lot of track work (during the ban) and I haven't had many injuries - I'm lucky, I'm a winger.

"If anything, the two years has freshened me up a little bit and obviously those couple of years in rugby certainly I didn't get that many hits."

It didn't end there either.

Asked if he had learnt any new tricks during his stint in rugby which ended midway through 2006 at the NSW Waratahs when he was banned after being caught using cocaine - a straight-faced Sailor replied: "Before I left rugby league I didn't have kicking skills, but I think my kicking's alright."

It provoked a few laughs, none more so than from Dragons coach Nathan Brown.

Brown confirmed Sailor would return on the wing on Saturday night in the relative obscurity of the Jim Beam Cup with the Shellharbour Marlins against Erina.

Brown had talked up the prospect of Sailor being used in the backrow.

That remained a possibility down the track, but the outgoing Dragons coach knows Sailor offers far more than just power and pace out wide.

"His personality's going to be good for the club - he's a winner and he's a competitive type of person," Brown said.

"He's played nine years and nine semi-finals series and won four comps - he's let me know all that already - he's used to winning."

Just how long Sailor remains a Marlin remains to be seen. There is a thought that club officials want him back for the round 13 clash against his former club the Broncos, but Sailor refused to put a time limit on his NRL return.

"It could take me six weeks, it could take me eight weeks, it could take me four weeks, you never know," Sailor said.

"For me it's just about getting my hands on the ball in an intense environment.

"Whether that's Shellharbour for six-eight weeks, so be it."

Ultimately, Sailor looked relieved to be back playing the sport he loves.

"You make mistakes and you have to be accountable, as I tell a lot of young kids," Sailor said.

"Drugs and sport don't go together ... I was carrying on like a bit of a rock star I suppose and football wasn't my first priority.

"Binge drinking and drugs certainly were my demise and I've worked on that.

"I'd like to think that two years, I've learnt my lesson. I've copped a hard time but deservedly so."

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