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If ever there was someone who understands the lure of Knights' coach Wayne Bennett, then surely Wendell Sailor is your man.


Sailor has long had a close rapport with Bennett, dating back to the early 90s when the supercoach gave him his first crack in first grade with the Brisbane Broncos.


It was a chance that catapulted Wendell's career from the humble beginnings of park footy to the heights of Queensland and Australian representation.


Then in 2007 when Sailor found himself in trouble and without a club, it was Bennett who gave him a second chance to resurrect his career at the Dragons when no one else would.


Wayne has always had a way with people and it's why Wendell is urging the First Nations Goannas side to make the most of their opportunity to play in front of the seven-time premiership winner on Saturday.


"These Goannas guys just need to go hard and play some football, because Wayne will see something in them," insists Sailor, who is helping the First Nations team as an assistant coach.


"You never know who is watching and there could be someone with their eyes on them thinking, ‘we need a winger and he might not cost as much’.


"I think all you need is an opportunity and this is a great chance to test themselves against the Knights.


"That’s the good thing about rugby league, all you need is an opportunity and then skies the limit.


"I was the same."


Sailor officially retired back in 2009, but reveals he was asked to play for the First Nations Goannas in the trial against the Knights.


As much as the former entertainer would have loved to pull on the boots again, he concedes his ageing frame is no longer up to the rigours of full-time footy.


"I said, 'look my body can’t do what it could have done a few years ago," he grins.


"And I didn’t want to be like John Farnham and just comeback after comeback.


"I also want to let these young guys out there have their opportunity.


"And I couldn’t think of anything worse than playing against an NRL team at the moment.


"The game has just got quicker and in the next five years it’s going to go to a whole new level."


A game based on speed and skill is exactly what Bennett is expecting from the First Nations Goannas this weekend.


The Knights' mentor has worked with plenty of Indigenous players over the years and is excited by the prospect of some free-flowing rugby league at Hunter Stadium.

“The great majority of indigenous boys have a great level of skill," Bennett says.


“They play with a freedom of spirit that a lot of other boys don’t play with.


“And if it doesn’t get coached out of them, then that’s what they’ll bring and I’m hoping they do on Saturday because I love watching them play.


“I hope they play with that free spirit."


While it may be difficult for the Goannas' players to land an NRL contract from impressing in one trial match, Bennett says it can't hurt to dream.


The veteran coach has seen plenty of Indigenous footballers rise above factors like homesickness and personal tragedy to become some of the best players in rugby league history.

“Well I hope they believe that they can still make it," he says.


“A lot of the young men come from their communities to Sydney, Brisbane or wherever and the discipline required to play in the NRL, well I’m sure it blows them away.


“I’ve seen lots of them come to the Broncos in my time who just couldn’t handle it.


“Steve Renouf, who we managed to get through was a classic example.


“He struggled initially and there was a chance we wouldn’t have seen that wonderful player that he turned out to be.


“So I hope there are two or three of them here this weekend, who can show has how good they really are.


“Then I’m sure they can comeback and handle being able to play in the NRL.”


As Sailor is fully aware, all you need is an opportunity because Wayne is always watching.


CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for Saturday's match at Hunter Stadium. Gates open at 3pm, the Knights play the Goannas' at 7pm.