Dane Gagai: I can't wait to play… Souths
It's a pretty simple equation for Newcastle's Dane Gagai – the young centre is chasing revenge against the best of the best as he gears up for the 2015 season.
South Sydney is the club on top of his list of teams he wants to beat next year, after the Rabbitohs took out their first premiership in 43 years.
"You just look forward to every week and putting on your jersey I guess and doing the best job you can for your team, but for me playing against the premiers is the one I look forward too," Gagai told NRL.com.
But it isn't just that Gagai wants to beat the champs, the 23-year-old wants revenge too.
In Round 21 last season the Rabbitohs absolutely annihilated the Knights 50-10, and Gagai wants to make amends for the 10-tries-to-two flogging as soon as possible.
"It was a pretty rough season for us last year but we're not making any excuses for anything, we were pretty shocking when we played against the Rabbitohs last season who were the in-form team hence why they took the premiership," Gagai said.
"They have lost Sam Burgess though who was obviously a key player for them but I'm sure they have someone just as big, strong and athletic to fill the spot, so they're my team to watch out for."
Despite chasing a bit of vengeance against the Rabbitohs, Gagai said it was important not to focus too much on getting the better of the stronger teams in the NRL.
"Every club is striving to be the number one team in the competition so you just can't focus on one or two of the better teams; you have to focus on every team when you come up against them every week because you never know what can happen," he said.
"It's a new year and seeing some of the boys from other teams and seeing what they have to go through over pre-season – I'm sure everyone is doing it tough but the same thing with them goes, they are all looking forward to next year and trying to become that number one team."
For the time being Gagai's immediate focus is on recovering from a hamstring injury sustained after falling off a footbridge while sliding down a handrail in Newcastle.
With the Auckland Nines in mind, Gagai said his hamstring "is coming along nicely".
"I think I will be back a lot earlier than expected. I did a bit of running recently so I'm on track and hopefully I'll be ready to go for the Nines because I enjoyed playing in it last year which was a great experience," Gagai said.
"It was a little accident but it hasn't put me out for too long."