Qld’s most wanted: Gagai bounces back to star on centre stage

Qld’s most wanted

Gagai bounces back to star on centre stage

A YEAR ago Dane Gagai was shunted to the wing at the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Wayne Bennett gave his centre position to James Roberts and there were reports Gagai wanted out.

What a difference a year makes.

Roberts is now out the door at Redfern and Gagai is proving himself one of the best centres in the game.

He was magnificent last night against the Blues at Adelaide Oval to help the underdog Maroons to a gutsy victory.

He saved a try in the first half with a magnificent tackle on Daniel Tupou in the corner, then put the Maroons ahead in the second half by setting up the try for rookie winger Xavier Coates.

What a story.

There was talk Gagai wanted to quit the Rabbitohs when Bennett switched him to the wing.

But he hung in, got his spot back this year, and hasn’t looked back.

As far as State of Origin games go, this one was hardly a classic.

It lacked the big hits or brutal exchanges that have become an Origin trademark.

Maybe it was the fact these players have endured such a long and demanding season.

Or both that both teams had so many changes from last year.

The Blues were without six players from last year’s team from game three that won the 2019 series. No Blake Ferguson, Tom Trbojevic, James Maloney, Paul Vaughan, Tariq Sims or Wade Graham. The Maroons were missing Kalyn Ponga, David Fifita, Val Holmes and Michael Morgan. There is no question NSW will have to make changes for the return game in Sydney. There second half was terrible. Nathan Brown will come onto the bench for Cameron Murray. But they need more. There will be much discussion around the Blues halves. Nathan Cleary and Luke Keary were both below their best. At some stage Cody Walker will have to come under consideration to start. Or even Cleary’s halves partner at the Panthers Jarome Luai. We also need more punch and power in the middle of the field. Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Isaah Yeo should come into the mix. Only one of our middle forwards had over 100m — Daniel Saifiti. After a poor first half, the Maroons were outstanding. Kangaroos halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster clicked into action and cleary outpinted their opposite number Whatever Bennett said at halftime worked. The old super coach has obviously still got it.


Gagai is a mature guy. Give his all every game and didnt cry and look for a new club like a few peahearts in the last few years. Put his head down and worked hard

Hope we can keep him


He came out talking about his love for the club and desire to win a comp. I hope Dane can stay on. He is very popular amongst the squad.


Gagai brings energy and toughness. He’s a scrapper. The tougher the game the better Gagai plays.
He hasn’t any great skillset. He doesn’t possess a great step or a swerve like Steve Rogers or, even blistering speed. But he’s a competitor and he loves to get into the tough nitty gritty of the game and, his unorthodox style and significant strength can turn a game.

He’s been bagged continually by Souths fans but there’s no doubt that he brings an attitude to a team that encompasses a never say die attitude and he plays by it.
He still makes me cringe at times like, last night when he made that break, for a split second, I thought he’d bombed the opportunity by not passing inside to Cherry Evans but, he executed the play perfectly.


What chance Reynolds and Walker the halves for game 2, or do you have to be in the 27 man squad?

Nah, They have to already be in the bubble - Walker obviously can be named in the starting squad but Reynolds is outside the 27 and has a groin complaint anyway.

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Zero chance…Reynolds has had groin surgery


Walker 5/8 Keary halfback Cleary is mitchell Pearce 2.0 can’t play for shit when the pressure is on him yeah he played good all year but he crumbles in the games that actually matters


Amazing how much our opinions have turned on Gags

He took some time to settle in but he’s converted most of us to fans


His first contact has improved out of sight.
He has been folding players in half.
The tackle on Liam Martin in the gf qualifier was textbook.
Then last night he smashed a much bigger Tupou one on one over the sideline in a try saver and a couple pearlers on Teddy as well.


Hopefully he turns into a matchwinner for us in some big games.

Ace Gagai defends club form


MAROONS ace Dane Gagai has bristled at suggestions he saves his best football for State of Origin after another matchwinning performance for Queensland.

Gagai was one of Queensland’s heroes in Wednesday night’s upset win against NSW at the Adelaide Oval in Game One of the series.

Gagai shifted from wing to centre only an hour before kick-off after the late scratching of Brenko Lee (calf) and responded with another sublime showing in the 18-14 win.

Gagai, 29, has earned a reputation for producing remarkable performances in the Origin arena throughout a 14-game career which has seen him net 11 tries. He was also crowned the 2017 player of the series. But his superhuman Origin efforts have raised questions and jokes about his club form for South Sydney.

Now a 203-game NRL player, Gagai said he wasn’t fazed by criticism he was an Origin specialist.

“Nah, not really. I guess, everyone’s gonna be entitled to their opinion,” Gagai (pictured) said. “I thought a few of my performances this year at Souths were pretty up there but unfortunately we didn’t get to where we wanted to go, which was the grand final. That’s all behind us now.

“Like I’ve always said, when I’m playing at Souths, all my focus is on them and now I’m in Origin camp, all my focus is going to be here.”

Gagai looks set to start at right centre again in Wednesday’s second game at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, where Queensland can wrap up their first series win since 2017.

The Mackay product is adamant the young Queenslanders can get the job done.

“It was a good feeling getting that first win,” Gagai said.

“We wanted to celebrate and enjoy that moment, but we also understand that the job’s only half done now.”

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I’d be happy for Gags to stay on after his current deal but he would have to take a decent pay cut from the reported $700k

I wouldn’t pay more than 400. I think that’s fair.

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Why do some dopey comms still call him “Gay guy”…I think he made it known its “Gag eye”?

@Dynamic_1, @Pride if he has another 2 strong games at SOO level and being one of Souths most consistent this season , he would take a significant pau cut?

Gagai remains me of a nice bottle of wine. Longer we keep him the more mature he become.

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Gagai had an excellent 2020 season. He was one of our best when we were struggling and performed well when the team did. We missed him when he was out.