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banner Wednesday, 25 October, 2000, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Wendell to set sail for Super League

Wendell Sailor in training today with the Australian squad.
Wing wizard Wendell Sailor looks set to become the latest Australian star to join the Super League.

The Brisbane Broncos star, courted by Wigan and Leeds in the past, comes out of contract in 12 months time and has now set his heart on playing his rugby league in England.

The 26-year-old Sailor had a guest spell playing union for the Leeds Rhinos sister club, Leeds Tykes, last year, scoring 15 tries in 13 games, and also appeared in two of the Rhinos friendlies over the festive period.

"I watched the Grand Final and it made me wish I was playing here next year, it was that good," said Sailor, whose manager Barry Collins is expected to begin talks with leading clubs Leeds, Wigan and Bradford when he arrives in England on Wednesday.

"I enjoyed my few months over here last year and the two friendlies I played were very enjoyable.

"I talked to Allan Langer and Steve Renouf, who said it's a pretty good set-up. There is always a good environment, a buzz among the crowds who just can't be quiet. It's so enjoyable."

Dispute

The 6ft 3in, 16st 5lb Sailor, who reckons he is playing the best rugby of his career, was involved in a legal dispute with Wigan in 1997 after reneging on a two-year deal, but is confident that would not bar a move to the JJB Stadium.

He also revealed a burning desire to play alongside New Zealand whizz kids Robbie and Henry Paul at Bradford Bulls.

"It would be fun to play with Robbie and Henry," he said. "I dare say my manager will be talking to Leeds, they are a good club.

"I love Wigan, too. Adrian Lam is a mate of mine and I get along very well with Mattie Johns. I take some of the responsibility for the Wigan business. It was a messy time but we're over that now."

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington, who negotiated the deal to take the player to the Tykes, said: "Wendell has had a sensational season in Australia and he's probably the world's top winger at the moment.

"We don't have an option on re-signing him but he enjoyed his time in Leeds and his Brisbane centre partner Tonie Carroll is coming to us."

Sailor, a Kangaroo tourist in 1994, will collect his 11th cap in Saturday's opening group one match of the Lincoln World Cup against England at Twickenham, but will be making his tournament debut.

A try scorer in the Broncos' recent Grand Final triumph, Sailor grabbed a hat-trick in the Kangaroos' recent 82-0 win over Papua New Guinea.


Sailor (left) will be marked by Radlinski (right)
England are set to switch Kris Radlinski to the wing to mark the danger man.

"Kris is a very good player, I always rated him," said Sailor. "He's a very good defensive player, good under the high ball, and he'll keep me on my toes."

One player Sailor will be missing when he runs out at Twickenham will be former Wigan ace Jason Robinson, who rivalled the Broncos man for the title of rugby league's greatest winger.

"It's a pity Jason Robinson is not there," he admitted.

"Over the years he's been the best winger I've come up against. He is a great ambassador and a gentleman to play against."

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See also:

24 Oct 00 |  Group 1
Hanley previews the big one
23 Oct 00 |  Group 1
Pryce warns against complacency
08 Oct 00 |  Rugby League
Rampant Aussies destroy New Guinea
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