NEWS 'Sailor-made' replacement working for permanent spot

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After an eye-catching performance last Friday night filling in for Reece Walsh, Tristan Sailor is hoping to keep a place in the Broncos team once the star fullback returns.

In his four appearances filling in for Brisbane last season, Sailor proved he was more than just a reliable understudy for Walsh, and again stepped up in his first showing of the 2024 season.

“To get the opportunity is awesome,” Sailor said after the game.

“That is why I am going to seize the opportunity the best I can and hopefully I can keep playing.

“(I am happy to do the job as long as Walsh Reece is out with a facial fracture), I am very confident doing my role and Kev is confident in me doing that too.

“While Walshy and I are similar players we are also different in ways.

“I just really want to play my game and work on my combos with the boys.

“(It) would be really good to try and get a bench spot or something like (when Walsh is back).

"[Tyson] Smoothy was really good and Oatesy [Corey Oates] was really good tonight, hopefully I can find a bench spot and the best way to do that is keep playing good footy.”

While Sailor has been deputising, he has also been getting tips and advice from Walsh, who has returned to training wearing a protective face covering.

“He has definitely been good (at helping me all season),” Sailor said.

“I think because we play on two opposing teams at training we challenge each other with doing trick plays and stuff like that.

“We have definitely been helping each other. Organising (defensive) lines against someone like Walshy is going to make me better. He takes short sides and is very good, so it makes me get my defensive organisation in order.

“(Since he's been injured), Walshy is a really good supporter.

“He is not someone who is down in the dumps. The first thing he did the next day (after he was injured against Penrith) was message me and say how excited he was for me. It is a credit to him.

“He is a great bloke and father. He is just doing his best to get back. He is very passionate and wants to be back over the next couple of weeks.

“I will just keep doing what I do and when he is back, he is back.”

This week, the Broncos play the Storm, who until recently held dominant advantage over Brisbane in the head-to-head stakes, but that hoodoo was shattered in the first week of the finals last year.

Sailor – who is yet to play the Storm in Melbourne – was in the dugout watching as the side posted their 26-0 win, said that game plan would be one to follow this week.

“I played the Storm (in the game before the final) for the minor premiership and they got us that game, so it will be good to challenge that again and hopefully play well,” Sailor said.

“(The finals win) was really good, the boys just went to another level I think.

“It was finals footy, so it was a big game at Suncorp in front of everyone, but I think that’s what happens when we just focus on doing our job and that’s why defence is such a big focus against Melbourne; they are so systematic and structured.

“They are a fantastic football team, so I think that is where we win the battle, in the middle and then score points off that.”

NRL.com
 

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