Gagai adamant Knights can bounce back
Dane Gagai said the team are in good spirits despite last week’s loss to the Penrith Panthers and maintains it’s not what the nib Newcastle Knights are all about.
“It was a disappointing loss for us last week but we don’t want that the represent who we are as a Club or what we’ve done over this pre-season and in the first couple of rounds,” explained Gagai.
The centre believes this week’s clash against last year’s premiers, the Cronulla Sharks, will be a tough challenge, but they are ready to bounce back.
“They are a quality outfit but all the boys are looking good, everyone is in good stead for Saturday,” said Gagai.
“We’ve been working hard on ball security as well as on our defence so that’s something we’re priding our self on.
“We want to be in the race for the finals so you win games with your defence and that’s what we’re working on.
“We’ve got to work together as a unit and not one person trying to solve it on their own and hopefully it pays off against the Sharks this weekend.”
Gagai acknowledges the Sharks have some quality players across the park.
“They have plenty of rep players on their side, an experienced squad and some good leaders amongst them as well as some great young talent,” he said.
“It is going to be a great challenge for us to come back this weekend.
“It is no secret why they were the premiers last year; they play for the full 80 minutes and we’ve got to do the exact same.”
Gagai singled out teammate Sione Mata’utia, who is set to notch up 50 games for the Club.
“It’s a great milestone for Sione, he’s done so much at a young age,” Gagai commented.
“He’s gone from the outside backs into the back row and he’s done a good job for us there.
“The only way we’re going to help him celebrate this one is to focus on our own game and we can put ourselves in the best position to win.”
The Knights centre is confident if they can stay in the battle throughout, they’ll have a good chance at their second win for the season.
“It’s about completing our sets and working hard for each other in defence,” Gagai said.
“I am going to do everything I can to put my team in a position where we can put a few points on the board, stop as many tries as we can and just work as hard as we can.”
All three grades are in action at Southern Cross Group Stadium this Saturday. NYC kick off at 10.45am, before Reserve Grade at 12.40pm and NRL at 3pm. The women’s exhibition match will also follow at 5.15pm.