Dragons roll out welcome mat for Gasnier - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons roll out welcome mat for Gasnier

By Steve Jancetic 15/05/2010 03:21:13 PM Comments (0)

Like a long lost brother, St George Illawarra players are desperate to welcome former skipper Mark Gasnier back to the fold with his one-time centre partner Matt Cooper admitting he'd be prepared to do the hard sell if required.

"Of course," said Cooper when asked if he would do his best to persuade Gasnier back to the club.

"I had a chat to him last week but we didn't really talk about it much because it hadn't come out yet, he'd only got back the night before and he just happened to be in Manly.

"I'm sure I'll talk to him in the next few days, see how he's going and see what (is going on) - I'm excited, I'm really excited.

"To have him back it's going to give us a bit of x-factor.

"He's a great weapon in attack and the way we're playing - to put Mark Gasnier in a side like what we've got now, it's going to be great for us." Gasnier could make a decision on his future as early as next week, with the 28-year-old still believed to be awaiting a final offer from his French rugby union side Stade Francais while also weighing up deals from Super 14 franchises.

He returned to Australia last week with his wife Claudine to be with her family, with reports his father-in-law had been diagnosed with cancer.

That is when the Dragons confirmed they were interested in luring him back to the club and rugby league with a reported $1.4 million three-year deal.

Cooper wasn't the only one to roll out the welcome mat for the former NSW and Test star, with five-eighth Jamie Soward also doing best sales pitch.

"We'd love to have him here, so if you're reading this Gaz and it can be worked out, come on over," Soward said.

"Gaz is a fantastic player and you only have to see some of the old footage to see what he can do with the ball.

"It would be nice to have him, whether it comes to fruition or not is out of my hands and out of the team's hands." Soward would stand to gain most from Gasnier's return given the Dragons pivot operates on the same right edge where Gasnier would also line-up.

But Soward was also quick to point out that he and the Dragons had been given great service by Beau Scott, with Soward claiming Scott would have been a NSW Origin certainty at right centre had he not been struck down by a knee injury two weeks ago.

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