Gagai happy with Knights deal
Following the Newcastle Knights' disappointing loss to the Sharks on Friday night Dane Gagai was immediately on the phone to his mother, letting her know that he had just finalised his deal to stay in Newcastle for a further two seasons.
It was a huge decision considering it means he will remain away from his family in Queensland for at least another two years.
"I love Newcastle and it was definitely the toughest decision I've had to make," Gagai told NRL.com.
"Everyone was talking about me going back to Brisbane and that definitely was an option for me especially with Wayne moving back there and being the head coach and me having a lot to do with him."
Gagai clearly has a deep respect for the master coach, who seems to have been a significant factor in his decision making process.
"He’s actually the one who got me to Newcastle," Gagai said.
"The support he's given me since my release from the Brisbane Broncos when Anthony Griffin let me go, Wayne took me under his wing and gave me a lot of guidance.
"I guess he showed a lot of belief in me to put me straight into the team in 2012 at Newcastle Knights, at centre, and he developed me into the player I am now.
"I do owe a lot to Wayne but I am basing this decision on what I wanted not what anyone else wanted. So I guess I got a bit selfish but it's just my future and I enjoy being in Newcastle, I enjoy being part of this team and I enjoy the town."
Gagai hails from Mackay in Queensland, where his family still live, moving to Brisbane would have brought him closer to them but instead he is now hoping to work out a way for them to live down in Newcastle.
"That's what I'm talking with them about now, hopefully Dad can get a job somewhere down here [in Newcastle] because I'm just trying to get the family down here. I'm trying to help my family out as much as I can."
The star Knights centre insists it wasn't a decision that he took lightly considering all the factors at play.
"This was obviously a very long process, I had to weigh in a lot of factors. I had to think about my family, going back to Queensland being a Queenslander I do miss it," he said.
"I spent a lot of nights with not much sleep thinking about what I was going to do and what was best for me and I think at the end of the day being in Newcastle is going to be the best decision for me.
"I'm enjoying it here and I feel like I'm playing good footy here."
Gagai's coach Rick Stone was happy about his club's resigning of their strike centre who is tipped for rep honours in the very near future.
"There's some good news absolutely, Dane's obviously a terrific young player he come down from Brisbane and has done a couple of years with the Knights now," Stone said.
"He's obviously cemented his life in Newcastle and wants to remain in Newcastle which is a good show of confidence for the club and the team and the network of coaches that we've got working a the Knights at the moment."
"We think that's a huge boost for us and really happy for Dane that he's sorted himself out and he can get on with playing some footy."