NRL: Dane Gagai’s three tries for Queensland on Wednesday is more than he’s managed for Newcastle all season. He now has to re-focus attention to a clash with the Dragons after his midweek heroics.
HE scored three tries in Queensland’s Origin triumph from the wing on Wednesday night.
Now Knights coach Nathan Brown is hoping Dane Gagai can carry some of that Suncorp Stadium magic into the clash with St George Illawarra at Hunter Stadium by using him in the same position against the Dragons.
A regular at fullback or centre for the Knights this season, The Saturday Telegraph has been told Gagai will start on the wing outside Sione Mata’utia with former Dragon Peter Mata’utia switching to fullback against his old team.
Despite being told earlier in the week by Brown he could have the Dragons game off after overcoming a quad injury to take his place in the Maroons side, Gagai rang his coach on Thursday morning to say he was good to go provided he got through the Knights captain’s run on Friday.
“I’ve got a few knocks and bumps and bruises but I’ve come out of it sweet,” Gagai said prior the side’s final hitout.
Asked about his Origin experience, Gagai said:
“I’ve been on a high and I just wanted to make the most of every moment I get whether that be on the field or off the field.
“I took that all in, especially with all my friends and family I had up there and with all the teammates and coaching staff and just enjoyed that moment.
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“But I’m back here now so whatever jersey I’m representing, I am going to do it to the best of my abilities. I’m back in Newcastle here now representing the Knights and we have a big weekend with the Alex McKinnon Cup (game).
“Hopefully, we can come away with a win.”
Peter Mata’utia, released by the Dragons two months ago to link with Newcastle, said he will treat it like any other match.
“I’ve got nothing to prove. Those (Dragons) boys know what kind of player I am and so does Mary (coach Paul McGregor) as well,” he said.
“I left on good terms and I’m at the Knights now and that is my first priority.
“I just want the team to win to be honest. It’s been a long season for the boys. Just a win in general for the boys would be great.”