BARNSTORMING Brisbane winger Wendell Sailor finally achieved premiership
satisfaction with yesterday's comprehensive 38-12 victory over Canterbury in the
inaugural National Rugby League grand final at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Sailor scored a try and went close to bagging a second as the Broncos
recovered from a sluggish first half and a 12-10 deficit to rattle up 28
unanswered points after the break.
Brisbane have a perfect record from four grand finals and Sailor has been
involved in three of those campaigns.
The 24-year-old Queensland and Australian flanker was still at school when
the Broncos beat St George to win their first premiership in 1992 then sat on
the bench but was not used the following year as the Broncos won back-to-back
titles against the Dragons.
Sailor was a key member of the Broncos' championship-winning Super League
side last year but described that as only `half a cup' so he had a personal
point to prove.
`I was here in 93 and felt the full brunt of a grand final but I wasn't
really part of that,' Sailor said.
`Last year was really just half a cup as far as I was concerned and we were
in a no-win situation.
`Everybody expected us to win because they said it was our rules and our
competition and that's just what we did, we won that.
`But this is it for me. This is the real grand final ? 20 teams, no split
comp ? this is what it's all about.'
Sailor also enjoyed returning to the home of finals football after the
Broncos beat Cronulla in last year's Super League decider on their home soil of
`Sydney Football Stadium is the heart of rugby league and this is where you
want to win grand finals,' he said.
Mindful of another Bulldog revival, Sailor felt the game was safe when
man-of-the-match Gorden Tallis scored in the 60th minute to stretch Brisbane's
lead to 26-12. The only personal disappointment came seven minutes later when he
kicked ahead but could not control the bouncing ball to score what would have
been his second try.
`The first half was tough, like a grand final should be, but in the second
half I think the Bulldogs started to tire with all the comebacks and extra time
they've had to play but we were feeling fresh,' he said.
`When Gorden Tallis scored, you could feel the momentum swinging our way.
`The floodgates sort of opened then and we were throwing it around and
playing our style of football.'