Newcastle Knights centre Dane Gagai is focused on his rehabilitation in order to be in the mix for the Auckland Nines when the tournament comes around next month.
The Knights centre is recovering from a hamstring injury but is confident he’ll be ready if called up.
The 23-year-old experienced the inaugural 2014 tournament and was hooked on the high energy and intense nature of the modified game.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of the Nines again, it’s an exciting concept and a different style of rugby league,” Gagai told NRL.com at Thursday’s Auckland Nines jersey launch in Sydney.
“I enjoyed it last year so it’s obviously a goal of mine to put a Nines jersey back on.
“I think we will go pretty well. It was hard last year not knowing what to expect, but obviously playing the games last year I’ve got an idea now.
“But in saying that, all the other teams are going to be on the same page and will have different tactics.
“Our coach (Rick Stone) will have a big input on what we should do and how we should play it.
“I think the biggest thing that it will come down is cardio. It’s fast paced, tough rugby league and it took its toll at the end of the day."
Gagai believes the Knights will have plenty to offer at this year’s blockbuster event, with the Club’s young talent sure to add an exciting element to the tournament.
“We have young Sione (Mata’utia) who will hopefully play on our team and have a lot of other young kids that could put the jersey on. I’m just hoping I can get my spot back,” he said.
“At the moment it’s all about getting my cardio back up. I’m looking to get in the best shape I can and will then see what happens.
“I did a bit of running the other day so that’s a good sign. I’m hoping to be a bit ahead of schedule to getting back with the group.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting back out onto the field.”
The Knights 2015 Auckland Nines jersey was launched today and is on sale online at the Knights Club Shop now.