Dane Gagai has everything it takes to be a Maroon stalwart
MACKAY product Dane Gagai has everything it takes to be a Maroon stalwart.
That's high praise and it's coming from high places.
Queensland State of Origin assistant coach Michael Hagan said the centre had matured since being exiled from the Queensland Emerging Origin Squad last year.
"He fits the model of a Queenslander," said Hagan, who is also director of football at Gagai's Newcastle Knights.
"He's tough, competitive and gets on well with everybody."
Gagai was banished from Origin in 2014 after missing an emerging squad training session.
Having redeemed himself to the powers that be, the 24-year-old was recalled for the 2015 camp earlier this month and is in line to wear Maroon in the near future with Darius Boyd injured and Brent Tate having retired.
"We talked about it (the missed training incident)," Hagan said.
"He understood that the decision probably cost him a chance to play in game three.
"He's paid the price but we don't carry that for too long."
Hagan said Origin coach Mal Meninga and Origin mentor Wayne Bennett had a history of giving footballers a second chance and that they thought highly of Gagai.
"Dane was really impressive at the camp and he's had a very good pre-season with us at the Knights," Hagan said.
"If he's playing well, he'll get a good look in (to playing Origin).
"I'm sure he can do the job if he comes in."