Dragons unleash Wendell on Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons unleash Wendell on Broncos

By Steve Jancetic 03/06/2008 07:39:29 PM Comments (0)

Wendell Sailor expects to be targeted by his former club when he ends a seven-year NRL exile and lines up for St George Illawarra against Brisbane on Friday.

Sailor has been named on the Dragons' wing for the WIN Stadium clash, which will be the dual international's first top flight game of football since his two-year rugby union-imposed drug ban came to an end last month.

The 34-year-old has spent the first three weeks of his comeback playing rugby league for Shellharbour in the Jim Beam Cup.

But with Dragons pair Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper again unavailable after being named in the NSW side for State of Origin II, Sailor was promoted to return to top flight football against his former club of nine years.

He says Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was a driving force behind his comeback, but doesn't expect any special treatment in front of an expected full-house.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to target me a little bit out on the right fringe," Sailor told reporters.

"It's a definite step up from Jim Beam Cup.

"You'd be silly not to try come down my side a little bit but I'm looking forward to it."

Sailor said the match was a chance for redemption and he was thrilled he could do it in front of Bennett, who he said had always backed him to make a successful return.

"He backed me trusted me and he said ...`it's going to be a tough two years but I've got no doubt you can make it back'.

"I'll certainly be giving him a call sometime after the game to thank him because when the days were dark he believed in me and he backed me like he always does."

Sailor, who switched to rugby union in 2002 has not played professional football of any kind since testing positive to cocaine in May 2006 while playing for the NSW Waratahs in the Super 14.

Dragons coach Nathan Brown is adamant the veteran winger can still be a force, while Gasnier believes he will further boost a side which has won four of its last five games.

"I think Wendell's only going to add a lot of confidence to the team and it will be interesting to see if a few people turn up to watch him," Gasnier said.

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