Rabbitoh boss very happy to get Gagai
SOUTH Sydney boss Shane Richardson was reminded why his club got it right in their bigmoney pursuit of Dane Gagai after he became the first winger in Origin history to win the Wally Lewis Medal.
Richardson was so impressed by the Queensland flyer’s efforts during the representative series – and his gracious post- match speech on Wednesday night – he said: “I see a lot of Johnathan Thurston in him.”
“There is a real quality leadership about him,’’ Richardson told News Corp.
“We’ve seen things in Dane, not just the way he has played in a side not playing well ( this year), but more importantly the way he has led and how much effort he has put in and his ability to break the line.
“I loved his interview after the game on Wednesday night. He was really humble, he’s a strong character, he’s a strong indigenous character. He’s a natural leader, not just player.
“He’ll be a major part of our team over the next four years.’’
It was announced before the start of the Origin series Gagai would leave Newcastle at the end of the season to take up a four- year deal at Souths.
Richardson said it was superstar skipper Greg Inglis who wanted the club to make Gagai a signing priority.
“Greg played a major role, he had been involved with him before, and when we worked out we wanted to go for him, Greg rang and said to me, ‘ Richo, you need to go all out for this kid because he’s special’. We did and it’s worked out positive for us,’’ Richardson said.
Gagai is excited about joining Souths where he will be used at centre or fullback.
While the Bunnies did not have a player involved in this year’s series, they could have up to four next year should Inglis return from injury, Gagai, possibly halfback Adam Reynolds and even gun backrower Angus Crichton.
They also had Cameron Murray captain the NSW under- 20s team, and Campbell Graham named skipper of the Blues’ under- 18s.