Rugby League: Sailor heads home to his favoured code

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The Independent Online
WENDELL SAILOR is heading back to Australia having enjoyed his rugby union experience - but he is still keen to return to league.

The big Queenslander collected 15 tries in 13 appearances for Leeds Tykes, ending his three-month spell with the Premiership Two club in their 49- 0 trouncing by Leicester at Welford Road on Saturday.

Starved of possession standing by the touchline, Sailor would have been forgiven if his thoughts turned to resuming his Super League career with Brisbane Broncos.

"I have really enjoyed my introduction to rugby union. I've managed to score a few tries and the next step is to play in the First Division," Sailor said.

"Leicester were a hugely different side to any other I came across and it would be good to test myself against that standard every week - but I will have to see how things develop with the Broncos this season."

The Tigers coach, Dean Richards, admitted after Saturday's game that his side had spent some time talking about the threat Sailor would pose, and added: "He is a player of huge potential."

However. Sailor's expression as he headed back to the land of his birth suggested that the 13-a-side game is the one he really loves.

"I can't wait to get back to Brisbane and start playing league again," he said. "I played a couple of games for Leeds at Christmas but I didn't really get into it, but I have plenty to aim for this season.

"We are the defending Super League champions and, when you are at the top, the only way you can go is down," Sailor added. "I'm sure there will be plenty of people waiting for me to fall down and blame it on the fact that I played union during the off season.

"I have to prove the doubters wrong - and I have also set my sights on making the Queensland team for the State of Origin matches and also for Australia in the Tri-Nations at the end of the season. After that, I might be a bit tired."

The latest cross-code convert also offered his opinion on the differences between the two sports and the difficulties he had adapting to the 15- man game. "As a winger in league you are involved all the time but in union you can spend an entire game not doing a great deal," Sailor said. "But it is far easier to score tries in league than it is in union. If you beat a couple of players in league you have a clear run to the line, in union there are another couple of blokes waiting to nail you.

"There are big differences in certain aspects of play, but good union teams can make sure you never get the ball - that doesn't happen in league."

One thing is for sure - even if Sailor does not return to the union code, he will be remembered fondly in Leeds.

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