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Brown is happy with Sailor's influence

07/06/2008 01:14:45 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown is confident Wendell Sailor will continue to have a positive effect on the NRL club despite the dual international undergoing surgery on Saturday for a fractured cheekbone.

Sailor's return to the NRL, after five years of rugby and a two-year drug ban, finished on a sour note on Friday night with the veteran winger carted off to hospital after a David Stagg elbow hit him flush on the jaw just before halftime in the Dragons' 28-10 win over Brisbane at WIN Stadium.

Scans confirmed a fracture with Sailor having surgery on Saturday for an injury which should keep him sidelined for four weeks.

Brown said Sailor would continue to have an impact during his rehabilitation and was confident the 34-year-old would make it back into the top grade before the end of the season.

"He was like a young kid just before Christmas," Brown said of Sailor's emotions just before Friday night's game.

"He was very excited, he's the most unique player I've ever coached - he can make people excited which is great.

"He's quite a remarkable character, he's a winner and even if he's not playing he can still help our club off the field anyway, which is great."

While Sailor's first run, when he bulldozed through Broncos backrower Ashton Sims, was a highlight, Brown said he was most impressed with the winger's defensive effort.

Sailor marked up on exciting winger Denan Kemp, who just last week ran rings around Parramatta winger Eric Grothe with a spectacular four-try performance.

"They targeted him a few times and even when he'd busted his cheek just before halftime he got there. I was really happy with how he positioned himself considering he hasn't played for a long time," Brown said.

The Dragons will continue their climb up the ladder next week as they sit back and enjoy the bye, and Brown believes the right attitude is in place to build on their four-match winning streak.

After opening up a comfortable 20-6 halftime lead, the Dragons lost their way in the second half as the visitors closed to within 10 points on the back of a generous penalty count before the red and whites kicked away again.

"We hung in there and fought through it ... maybe six or eight weeks ago we wouldn't have been able to hang in there, maybe we'd let them score a try and make the game really, really close," Brown said.

"Our resolve's much better, when things go against us we can actually hang in there and fight harder than we ever have for a long time.

"The fact they want to fight for each other is great."

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