Indigenous boys have to dig deep: Sailor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Indigenous boys have to dig deep: Sailor

By Wayne Heming 09/02/2011 06:30:10 PM Comments (0)

Former dual international Wendell Sailor is tipping an Indigenous All Stars win on Saturday night but warned they'll need to match their defensive heroics from last year's historic victory.

Sailor said the NRL All Stars, led by Darren Lockyer and coached by Wayne Bennett, would not want to go down 2-0 in the unique concept, after losing the inaugural game at Skilled Park 20-10 last February.

"Because they (NRL All Stars) have some of the best players in the game, they feel losses like that," said Sailor after playing in the ANZ Ladies Masters pro-am at Royal Pines on Wednesday.

"For our players it's an opportunity to go up against the best of the best and represent our people.

"But they won't want to be down 2-0, they'll want to knock us off. They don't want to go one nil, two nil, three nil."

Sailor is excited about seeing players like Canterbury young gun Ben Barba and North Queensland excitement machine Matt Bowen take part for the Indigenous side this year.

"It's also a chance for Jamal Idris to step up after missing last year's game when he did his hamstring during the captain's run in 2010," he said.

"There won't be much in it ... look at their team, Locky (Darren Lockyer), Benji (Marshall), they're playing unbelievable football."

However, Sailor has a clear idea of how the match will play out.

"We'll win by a try," he predicted.

Lockyer, whose All Star debut was over before it started last year after corking his biceps in the opening play, admitted the defence of the Indigenous players was sensational in that first half.

"It reminded me of the Queensland Origin side in 1995 the way they just kept turning up in defence," said Lockyer.

Sailor, who will run the water on Saturday night, revealed the Indigenous side had concerns how they would aim up in defence before the first game.

He called on players this year to follow the benchmark set by the likes of Joel Thompson, Tom Learoyd Lahrs and George Rose.

"Blokes like Joel Thompson played out of their skin, Tommy Learoyd Lahrs, Georgie Rose, who's such a big unit but he kept up with the pace. Ben Jones and Corey Paterson, they were all amazing in defence," said Sailor, whose Didgeridoo post-try celebration last year has become part of All Star folklore.

"Everybody remembers that moment," he said.

"For me, I guess I'm a bit of a showman, an extrovert, what it meant to me was the players that were around me, Sam Thaiday, Preston Campbell, Johnathan Thurston, those guys who ooze passion for their culture.

"I do mentoring programs with kids and they all talk about that so it made an impact."

Sailor attended an Indigenous Leaders dinner on Tuesday night along with former tennis queen Evonne Goolagong Cawley, former Australian of the Year Lowitja O'Donoghue and rugby league legends, Arthur Beetson and Steve Renouf.

"They saw the shots of that and it's never going to be deleted from history," said Sailor proudly.

Both teams continued preparations on the Gold Coast on Wednesday with the sides to be finalised later in the week.

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