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Origin Flashback: Gagai claims Wally Lewis Medal

Talk about a player made for the State of Origin arena.

When the bright lights are on, Dane Gagai has delivered time and time again.

His performances have become stuff of legend in the Maroon jersey, and none more so than his awe-inspiring series in 2017.

After scoring four tries in his first three Origin games, Gagai was one of the first names picked for Game I of '17.

Queensland were going in strong after two straight series victories with names like Thurston, Smith, Cronk and Slater still plying their trade.

However, a determined NSW side ambushed the Maroons on home turf in the opening game.

The Blues ran in five tries to the home side's one to earn a 28-4 victory.

As for Gagai, he was the best on ground for Queensland having ran for a gutsy, game-high 219 metres.

The winger was impeccably brave in a defeated side and made the most amount of runs out of any Maroon, along with 11 tackle breaks.

With the series on the line in Game II, the Maroons faced the daunting task of having to stop a NSW series win on enemy territory.

Difficult circumstances to say the least, but that's where champions thrive.


Continuing where they left off in the first game, NSW jumped out of the blocks.

The Blues scored three first half tries to lead the Maroons 16-6 at a sold-out Stadium Australia.

After three halves of football, Queensland were down by a combined total of 44-10.

It appeared only a formality that the Blues would go on to claim the series after such domination.

Although, this wasn't your average Queensland side.

The Maroons worked themselves back into the contest with Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston the architects of a potential comeback.

As for our man, Gagai was in everything with his gut-busting plays.

He became the beneficiary.

Josh McGuire made a midfield break early in the second half and offloaded to Will Chambers, who found Gagai back on the inside and the winger raced to the line.

After another 20 minutes of football, the Maroons ground down the Blues and finally landed the killer blow.

Once again, Gagai was on hand to deliver.

The winger received a flick pass from Michael Morgan and dove over to score with only four minutes to play.

Thurston nailed the conversion from the sideline to complete one of the all-time great Origin comebacks and win the game 18-16.

Along with his game-winning tries, Gagai topped the running metres charts for the second game straight with 189 metres.

He once again took the most amount of runs for the Maroons with 24 and had nine tackle breaks.

Riding high after pulling themselves out of the depths of defeat, it was back to Queensland for Game III.

More than 52,000 people crammed into Suncorp Stadium for the highly-anticipated decider.

It was pitted as a resurgent NSW side fresh with brimming talent against the champion Queenslanders coming to the end of an incredible dynasty.

The Queenslanders started fast on their home track running in two tries in the opening half through Valentine Holmes.

NSW appeared to have no answers and went into the sheds 12-0 down.

The Blues struck back through Josh Dugan just after the break, but that was where the joy ended for NSW.

The Maroons ran in another two tries with Holmes rounding off a hat-trick to win 22-6 and claim a third straight series win.

True to form, Dane Gagai put in another mammoth performance.

Gagai topped the run metres for Queensland for the third game in a row with 167 metres, and once again, took the most amount of runs out of any player on the park.

The winger's yardage carries out of trouble proved invaluable all series and that is without adding on his memorable tries in Game II.

His tireless efforts didn't go unnoticed.

Gagai made history and became the first winger to receive the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series.

Talk about a player made for the State of Origin arena.