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Wendell Sailor announces his retirement from rugby league
By staff writers
November 12, 2009 Wendell Sailor has announced his retirement from rugby league with immediate effect.
The St George Illawarra former dual international winger confirmed his decision at a media conference this morning.
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Wendell Sailor retires
November 12, 2009 - 10:16AM
Dual international Wendell Sailor has announced his retirement from professional sport, thanking his NRL club St George Illawarra for helping him to find ‘‘redemption’’.
Sailor, 35, said he felt the time was right to quit although he believed he could have played on for another year in the NRL.
And he was extremely grateful to the Dragons who signed him in May 2008 after he completed the two-year suspension which ended the ex-Wallabies winger’s five-and-a-half season stint in rugby union after he tested positive to cocaine.
‘‘I think everyone realises I went through a tough couple of years there. The Dragons were great, giving me a (career) lifeline,’’ said Sailor, who played 33 games for the club, taking his first grade tally to 222 matches since debuting for Brisbane 16 years ago.
‘‘A 33-year-old has-been at the time. A lot of people wrote me off and, me being me, I was pretty confident I could come back and finish on the right note and I think I have.‘‘
Redemption happened for me on and off the field.
‘‘I just love the game, I love what it has given me throughout my career.
‘‘I have got to see the world - a skinny little dark kid from Sarina at the age of 17.’’
Sailor said he’d made up his mind to retire over the last couple of weeks even though he joked he’d been ‘‘outvoted’’ by his kids who wanted him to play on.
‘‘I knew that I could probably go another year but I just think that the timing was right,’’ he said.‘‘We have got some great young (winger) talent at the Dragons in (Jason) Nightingale and (Brett) Morris.
‘‘Personally for me I’m content and I’m happy and I’m just happy with the way people responded to me.’’
Dragons coach Wayne Bennett, who was in charge for most of Sailor’s career with Brisbane and St George Illawarra, said the winger’s retirement timing was ‘‘impeccable’’ and he would be remembered for his ‘‘charisma, professionalism and playing ability’’.
Sailor will play one final match provided he is voted onto the Indigenous team scheduled to play the NRL All Stars at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast on February 13.
Sailor said he’d signed deals to do work with a number of media organisations.
He will continue with the Dragons in a promotional capacity and has also been offered a role within the NRL’s One Community program.Sailor played 19 Tests for Australia in rugby league, five of which were in Super League, and 17 State of Origin matches for Queensland, three of them Super League.
Sailor also played 37 Tests, including the 2003 World Cup final, for the Wallabies during his time in rugby union.
I reckon this makes the Lockyer mail a little stronger. Any thoughts???
Its a sad day for rugby league. Wendell was a personality and there aren’t too many of them anymore. He made mistakes but it appears he has learnt from them, which is all you can ask. Guys like Wendell, Geyer, Girdler, etc need to be used against AFL’s push and I’m sure they will.
Tigerdave last edited by
Probably a good time for Dell to do this, he might have been able to go around for another year, but he’s going on a bit of a high here, he had a good year.
one of the most damaging ball runners when he was in his prime
Sad to see him go. A great personality, and one of the best wingers in recent times. Sure he made his mistakes, but unlike every other high profile individual who makes a similar mistake, Dell didn’t try and hide behind weak excuses, or anything like that, just copped it on the chin, and came out of it a better man. I hope he stays involved in the game some how, he has a lot still to offer.
He retired at the right time. Atleast he will still be involved in the game - in the media and NRL Footy Show.
yeah, a little dissapointed when i heard that. was looking foward to the ‘dell’ to play another year, but not to be