Mark Gasnier gets three chances to prove he’s ready

Picture: John VeageWayne Bennett will use three training sessions this week to decide whether Mark Gasnier is ready for an immediate return to the NRL.Gasnier will run with the team for the first time tomorrow as they prepare for Monday night’s top-of-the-table clash with Penrith at Kogarah.He will then have sessions on Friday and Sunday to prove to Bennett he is able to handle his first rugby league game since 2008. Full coverage of the Dragons “I think I’d be kidding myself if I think I’m going to walk straight back in and be as fit as a fiddle and kill it,” Gasnier said.”But I hope to do my best, wherever that may be and work hard on it, I guess.”Gasnier has been keeping fit with a personal trainer and Bennett yesterday said the former St George Illawarra captain would be named in an extended line-up today.Bennett warned Dragons fans not to expect Gasnier to be his brilliant best straight away.The Dragons have the bye next round, which would allow Gasnier time to do extra strength, fitness and ball work before their round-19 clash with Souths.”He’s got to fall into our system,” Bennett said.”He’s got to be part of the team, which I’ve got no doubt he will be.”And he’ll have to work for everything he’s going to get here, because we do have a good team.”Bennett was coy about his intentions for Gasnier, only assuring Jamie Soward and Darius Boyd were safe in their present roles.”I can guarantee him this much, he won’t be playing fullback or five-eighth,” Bennett said.But the veteran coach was clear that Gasnier wouldn’t take long to return to his former NRL glory.”He just brings class that most players wish they had a little bit of,” he said.”He’ll have to get a bit fitter, I’ve got no doubt about that.”He hasn’t trained for a couple of months in a (rugby league) training environment, so it will take a while.”But I’m confident his skill level hasn’t diminished.”
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