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Dane Gagai vs Penrith Panthers Round 1

Dane Gagai is first to admit the Knights will miss Darius Boyd's experience at fullback against Canberra on Sunday, but he has no doubts the team are capable of performing in his absence.   

Boyd is expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks after suffering a low grade two hamstring tear in the first half of the Club's 30-8 loss against Penrith last Saturday.     

While it's never ideal to lose an Australian and Queensland representative, Gagai believes the Club is ready to step up and perform without their star No.1.    

"That’s not going to be a problem for us," Gagai said about playing without Boyd. 

"We’ve got people there who can do that job and we’ve been training all pre-season together so we know how each other plays.

"Wayne won’t put someone there (fullback) that he knows won’t get the job done.

"That’s the way everyone feels and that everyone is capable of doing the job."

Gagai says his teammates are looking forward to taking on the Raiders at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

He believes the clash is the perfect chance to make amends for their disappointing round one effort against the Panthers. 

"From a team perspective, we just had too much drop ball in the first round," he says.

"I think we made eight errors in our 50 metre zone in the game, so that is going to cost you when you are coming up against good attacking sides like the Panthers.

"So we’ve just got to make sure we minimise those errors.

"We were in there throughout the whole game and our defence was good, it was just those errors that cost us.

"We’ve just got to make sure we get that out of our game, because other than that I felt like we were still in the game and not just trying to hold on.

"It just came from too many drop balls, myself included.

"Our focus is now to go into this (Raiders) game confident and put that game behind us."

Asked how morale was heading into Sunday's first home game for 2014, Gagai said the team was feeling good and keen to play in front of a big home crowd. 

"We are just putting it (the Panthers loss) behind us," he insists.

"Obviously it’s not the way you want to start the season, but you also don’t want to remember those things either.

"So we are just moving forward. We had a good training session today with some core skills and everyone made sure they were switched on and just tried to cut the errors out.

"We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.

"We’ve been training all pre-season together, so we know what we want to accomplish and what we have to do, but we’ve just got to execute."

Gagai shifted to fullback when Boyd went down injured in the first half against Penrith. He admits it was a tough move to the No.1 jumper, especially given it was his first match in the position since his days in the NYC ranks.  

"It brought back a few memories of when I was playing back in the 20s," he grins.

"It has been a while since I’ve played fullback and it’s a lot different playing in the NRL compared to what I’d been used to in the 20s.

"Especially with the halves kicking games. I got caught out with a 40/20, but that also came off the back of a few unfortunate injuries.

"We are just going to learn from the injuries and adapt." 

It's a mission that starts this Sunday against Canberra and Gagai has no doubts his teammates will be ready to fire.

"It will be good getting back out there in front of the home crowd and getting that support behind us," he says.

"I’m just looking forward to that first home game and getting that first win.

Footy’s back at Hunter Stadium!

Get your ticket now for the Knights Round 2 game against the Raiders on Sunday and be there to cheer on your team. Click here to buy tickets now.