Gagai wants redemption after tough video session

Call it a one-man honesty session.

Dane Gagai is a hard marker, and he believes what he produced in last week's narrow win over Manly simply isn't good enough.

He knew it when he forced himself to watch a replay of last week's eventual 34-26 semi-final win over Manly, in which he twice missed bustling young centre Moses Suli for Manly tries and produced three handling errors.

With a World Cup win and three Origin series wins including one Wally Lewis Medal, Gagai is no stranger to producing his best on the biggest stages.

That's why he knows what happened last week isn't up to his standards and why he is desperate for redemption against the Raiders this week.

A forthright Gagai sat down with NRL.com after Rabbitohs training at Redfern Oval on Tuesday morning, and didn't hold back when asked where he could improve from last week.

"That performance I dished up, me personally, I was way off what I'm capable of," Gagai said.

"I went back and watched the game, as hard as it was, and straight away I knew what I'd done wrong.

"Defensively I came up with a lot of poor decisions. I was coming up out of the line and coming up on [Suli's] inside shoulder and giving him a lot of space and putting myself under pressure.

"I should have been staying with my defensive line and putting him on my inside shoulder so if he wanted to take me on the outside I could be a lot more aggressive but the position I was putting myself in, a little bit of footwork got me planting then when he'd take off I'd have to come in square and just got caught with the fend."

Gagai was also bitterly disappointed with his game-high three handling errors, including one where he said he was looking to pass after making a half break from dummy half before regaining full control of the ball.

"My strength is my running game and that's what I need to put my focus into. If I get those things right that's all I have to worry about," he added.

Moved to fullback due to Adam Doueihi's head knock for the final 20 minutes, it was Gagai's running game that helped him break two tackles and streak into space to create the play that eventually resulted in Jake Trbojevic's sin binning and was a crucial turning point in the Bunnies' late comeback that earned them a preliminary finals berth.

"That's the strength of my game and that's what I need to do for the boys this weekend is get my hands on the ball and just run," he said.

Match: Raiders v Rabbitohs

Finals Week 3 -

Full Time
Raiders

Home Team

Raiders

Scored 16 points
Rabbitohs

Away Team

Rabbitohs

Scored 10 points

Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

"Fortunately for myself I get an opportunity to redeem myself and show the boys what I can bring to the team. If we had have lost that one it would have been a very long off-season for me! I'm very fortunate we get an opportunity to go again and I definitely won't be missing this one."

Gagai knows the Raiders' strength is in their aggression and physicality and said the Bunnies will have to be ready to combat that.

"They've got a lot of strong ball runners – [John] Bateman, Josh Papalii, Charnze [Nicoll-Klokstad] at fullback is a strong carrier, the wingers, BJ Leilua, Jack Wighton is a big lad who takes the line on," he said.

"For us it's about running hard, running with support and sticking to the game plan. When opportunities do pop up, then we take them. Don't overthink it, play our footy and if something comes up then take it."