Sailor out to prove his versatility - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sailor out to prove his versatility

By Todd Balym 06/07/2008 02:18:39 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra winger Wendell Sailor expects to be dumped to Queensland Cup this week but will use the next few weeks increasing match fitness to push his claims for a bench utility role.

Sailor completed his first full rugby league game in seven years in the Dragons' 24-16 NRL victory over Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Saturday night, earning significant praise from coach Nathan Brown.

But with NSW stars Mark Gasnier (back) and Matt Cooper (knee) expected to slot straight back in the Dragons backline for next Sunday's clash with Canberra, and forward Ben Creagh (knee) also slated to return, Sailor knows he is the man likely to miss out.

"If they come back I probably won't be in the side," said Sailor.

"I will probably play at Burleigh (Queensland Cup) next week.

"I don't mind that because I came in late, I didn't do the preseason and at the end of the day this is a squad effort.

"I know that I probably only play one position at the moment but Browny asked me would I play backrow and I said `mate when I've gotten fitter I would certainly do that job.

"I will just do whatever he wants and whatever the club wants.

"I've still got a little bit of work to do but I just enjoyed being out there, there's nothing better than playing NRL."

Sailor's performance against the Knights was much better than his NRL return against Brisbane four weeks ago with 11 bulldozing runs and seven tackles.

But defensive lapses on his side of the field cost the Dragons two late tries, while Sailor's own brilliant 70m individual effort ended in heartbreak when Jarrod Mullen dragged him over the sideline one metre short of the tryline.

With Kiwi Test winger Jason Nightingale leading the NRL tryscoring race and fellow outside backs Chase Stanley and Josh Morris also in fine touch, Sailor has plenty of young teammates in his path to a fulltime NRL position.

But the 33-year-old dual international is willing to bide his time as the Dragons' seven-game winning streak pushes towards the finals.

"We have the depth here and to win finals and to make the playoffs you need good depth," said Sailor.

"I like what the club is about at the moment. The young guys are really standing up."

Stand-in skipper Ben Hornby said Sailor was having a massive influence on the players at the club.

"He is just a confidence player and brings confidence to other blokes," said Hornby.

"He is always positive and it's good to have him out there."

Next Sunday's clash with the Raiders at WIN Stadium will be a chance for the Dragons to equal the club's longest winning streak of eight set back in 2005.

But Brown, in his final year at the helm of the club, isn't interested in milestones or finals talk.

"It would be another two points which would be great," he said.

"The team is going reasonably well which is great."

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