Queensland all clear as Gagai passed fit
Maroons winger Dane Gagai has admitted that he was concerned he would not recover in time from a quadriceps injury to play in Game Two of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series on Wednesday night but says he is now 100 per cent and ready to play.
For the first time in the Maroons' camp for Game Two Gagai participated in a full field session on a soggy Sunday on the Gold Coast and came through with flying colours. The 25-year-old didn't quite hit top speed during the session but had no trouble striding out and said that he felt no discomfort throughout the opposed session.
"I ran out there and got up to a decent speed and it didn't cross my mind at all so I felt really comfortable with it," Gagai said following the session.
"I'll keep getting treatment until game day but at this stage I'm 100 per cent."
Gagai – who was also hit by the mystery stomach bug that affected a number of players during the week – first suffered the injury in backing up for the Knights against the Cowboys after Origin I and then aggravated it further in trying to chase down Warriors fullback Tuimoala Lolohea late in their Round 14 clash.
For the first four days of camp he was restricted to individual exercises such as squats and lunges to free up the muscle and said that if there was any doubt of getting through the game that he would have ruled himself out.
"I wasn't going to go out there just for the sake of playing for Queensland, I wouldn't do that to the boys," Gagai said.
"It was in the back of my mind whether I was going to be right to play or not but due to the physios looking after me and all the treatment and strength work I'm back to feeling 100 per cent.
"At the very start it was in my mind whether I'd be right to start because it was pretty painful and I couldn't run properly, I'd run with a bit of a limp.
"It would have been an easy decision but a tough one if I wasn't 100 per cent fit and felt like I wasn't going to be right on game night."
Having fallen foul of Queensland's strict disciplinary expectations by going missing during an Emerging Maroons camp two years ago Gagai has been among Queensland's best in his two Origin matches to date.
He scored the first try of the 52-6 rout in Game Three last year and then Queensland's only four-pointer in Game One along with 21 runs for 176 metres.
But while points will again be at a premium on Wednesday night Gagai says he is more concerned with stopping any tries being scored than adding to his own personal tally.
He and former Junior Kangaroos teammate Justin O'Neill combined well on the right edge in Game One and said the experience of the likes of Cooper Cronk and Darius Boyd helps to keep their side of the field well set in defence.
"There is definitely room for improvement with anything but I've got such good players inside me that it makes my job a lot easier," he said.
"Cooper Cronk is unbelievable with his talk to us and communicating with us and getting numbers right and Darius organising numbers at the back so it definitely makes it a lot easier."