Dane Gagai Competition - NRL Premiership Round - Round 03 Teams - Newcastle Knights V Canberra Raiders - 19th of March 2016 Venue - Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow, Newcastle NSW Photographer - Paul Barkley

Gagai strives for best at fullback

What Newcastle Knight Dane Gagai loves most about lining up in the number one jersey is the freedom it gives him on the field and increased opportunity with the ball.

After starting the season in the centres, in round three the coach shifted him to fullback.

“Being in the centres you are limited to opportunities but at fullback I guess you can run around where you want out the back and pick and chose sides,” he said.

“I’m getting a lot more touches on the ball, so that’s something I’m enjoying.

“I’m enjoying my time at fullback after being a centre for the last couple of years.

“This is only going to help me grow as a player and as a person playing somewhere else.”

While he admits he feels most at home playing on the right edge, he possesses a steely determination to take ownership of his new role.

“What I’m going to focus on is being better every week,” he said.  

“It’s what’s best for the team and I will make the most of it and try to be the best fullback I can for the team.

“I’m still learning the position. I played there back in 20s, but that was a long time ago, but just trying to get better each week and be the best fullback I can to help our team get some wins.”

Free rein on the field has brought with it greater physical demands for Gagai.

“There are few more kilometres in there and the lungs are burning a bit more,” he said.

"I just have to keep working on the cardio and fitness because I’ve gone from about four and a half kilometres to nine a game.

“You definitely feel it at the end.

“It’s about making sure I’m doing the right recovery and doing all the little things off the field, to stay away from those injuries.”

The Knights are eager for a victory over the Wests Tigers when they return to Hunter Stadium this Sunday.

“A win is definitely important for us. We had that draw against the Raiders and a close match against the Storm last week,” Gagai said.

“We shot ourselves in the foot last week giving away a few penalties and letting them out of our half.

“You can only defend for so long until a quality team starts to put some points on the board.

“If we can get those errors out of our game I think we will have a really good chance.

“Were not focusing on any negatives. We know what we can do…and what we are capable of.

“If we get those little errors out of our game we will go a long way to winning.”

Sunday April 10 – Round 6
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers 
Venue: Hunter Stadium 
Gates Open: 11.15am
Reserve grade: 11.30am
NYC: 1.45pm
NRL Kick off: 4pm 
Match Day information is HERE.

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