Hat-trick hero Gagai's Origin inspiration
Queensland hat-trick hero Dane Gagai has revealed the inspiration behind Wednesday night's career-best performance.
Gagai was outstanding for the Maroons, scoring three tries and running for 147 metres and in the process helping Queensland claim a 26-16 win and a 10th Origin series victory in 11 years.
The livewire winger joins an illustrious group to have scored three tries in an Origin match.
Lote Tuqiri and Matt Sing are the other Maroons to achieve the feat, while Chris Anderson has done it for the Blues. Gagai said the recent birth of his son Dante is what inspired him to terrorise the Blues' defence in a complete 80-minute performance.
"Bringing my little one down on the field after the game is the most special moment of my career," Gagai said.
"It was his first game that he's attended so he might be a bit of a good luck charm. I might have to bring him to every game now.
"I have Dante written on the strapping on my wrist when I run out. He's seven and a half weeks old so this is his first time here watching me.
"I had him, my partner and my old man here, plus my family even drove down from Mackay."
Gagai was in doubt with a quad injury heading into the match, but the Newcastle Knights star was never going to miss the chance to run out onto Suncorp Stadium in front of his son.
The highlight of Gagai's stellar performance was an 80-metre intercept try that came against the run of play and help the Maroons steal back the momentum.
With New South Wales peppering Queensland's line, Gagai swooped on a Josh Mansour mistake and beat the winger to have clear air in front of him.
But he was almost caught by an amazing chase by Blues second-row forward Tyson Frizell in what was an outstanding effort by the debutant.
Gagai said he thought he only had New South Wales winger Blake Ferguson to beat but soon realised the calibre of athlete chasing him down.
"The quad was feeling good but the lungs were burning a bit. I just knew I had to do everything I could to make it," he said.
"I broke away from Josh Mansour and that was tough because he's very strong.
"I thought I only had Ferguson to beat, but then I found myself getting ankle tapped by a second-row forward!
"Frizell is a big and very athletic human. He's such an unbelievable player, but I was fortunate enough to cross the line in the end."
Gagai now has five tries in three Origin appearances for Queensland after a brilliant star to his representative career.
The 25-year-old hasn't put a foot wrong since replacing an injured Billy Slater in Game Three of the 2015 Origin series.