MOVING ON: Dane Gagai agonised over his decision to leave Newcastle and join South Sydney next season. Picture: Getty ImagesKNIGHTS flyer Dane Gagai admits he agonised over his decision to part company with the club at season’s end to join South Sydney.
The Queensland Origin winger, a two-try hero of last week’s series-saving win against NSW, accepted a four-year deal with the Rabbitohs earlier this month.
“It was a tough decision, but I guess at the end of the day, I had plenty of time to think about it,’’ Gagai told the Newcastle Herald.
“It wasn’t just something that happened overnight.
“I talked a lot withmy family about it and wedecided it’s the best thing for me and my family.’’
Gagai joined Newcastle in 2012, when he was sacked mid-season by the Broncos.
He has since played 119 NRL games for the Knights and six consecutive games for Queensland.
His goal for the rest of the season is help Newcastle win games and climb the ladder.
“I love this club and I love the boys, so I’m going to put up my hand and do whatever I can to help us get over the line,” he said.
The 26-year-old was bitterly disappointed with Newcastle’s 32-28 loss to St George Illawarra last week, after the Knights surrendered an 18-point half-time lead.
“Not the result we wanted,’’ he said. “We led the half well but obviously that second half wasn’t up to first-grade standard.’’
Meanwhile, there was speculation that Brisbane’s decision to omit propHerman Ese’ese from their squad that played Melbourne on Friday night was a reaction to him signing for Newcastle.
The Knights have been circling bothHerman Ese’ese and teammate Tautau Moga for several weeks and it appears both will be in the red and blue from 2018 onwards.
Ese’ese, 22, made his NRL debut for Canterbury in 2015 before linking with Brisbane, for whom he has played23 first-grade games, including 14 this season.
Moga, 23, started as an 18-year-old at the Roosters in 2012 and then spent three seasons with North Queensland before joining the Broncos this year. He has 47 games under his belt, including 14 tries.
Newcastle have already confirmed the signings of Kalyn Ponga (North Queensland) and Aidan Guerra (Roosters) for next season, and this week added former Rooster Shaun Kenny-Dowall to their roster before the June 30 mid-season transfer deadline.Kenny-Dowall is recovering from a hamstring strain but is hoping tobe availablefor Newcastle’s clash with Canterbury at Belmore on Sunday week.
The Knights’ signing spree is far from finished. They will be expectingto add at least one more high-profile import. They will also start sifting through a host of off-contract incumbents, including Jaelen Feeney, Sam Stone, Luke Yates, Peter Mata’utia, Brendan Elliot and Josh Starling.