Dane Gagai intercepts and scores the match-winner for the Maroons. Picture: Jono Searle
Dane Gagai intercepts and scores the match-winner for the Maroons. Picture: Jono Searle

Runaway Gagai watched Fox hunt on TV

When 52,000 people were watching Dane Gagai take off at Suncorp Stadium, he was watching television.

Or at least the big screen. Gagia's late 95m intercept try will forever be a memorable Origin moment, all the sweeter because he instinctively put everything on the line.

Had Jack Wighton's pass gone past him the Blues most probably would have scored and won the match.

 

Dane Gagai intercepts and scores the match-winner for the Maroons. Picture: Jono Searle
Dane Gagai intercepts and scores the match-winner for the Maroons. Picture: Jono Searle

 

But fortunate favoured the brave and Gagai snatched the pass and took off for dear life.

While the stadium erupted at the sight of him surging downfield and backing himself to win a sprint to the line, Gagai spotted the big screen directly in his eye line and sensed a flicker of trouble.

"When I got to the halfway line I had a big grin but I looked up at the big screen and could see The Fox (Josh Addo-Carr) running behind me,'' Gagai said.

"I could not see how far he was. I knew he does not need too much time to catch someone. I had to focus and make sure I held my form.''

 

Gagai watched himself on the big screen before scoring the try. Picture: Annette Dew
Gagai watched himself on the big screen before scoring the try. Picture: Annette Dew

 

Addo-Carr, regarded as the fastest man in league, spun on a 20 cent piece once the intercept was made, giving Gagai 10m start and closing the gap to about five metres at the finish as Gagai slowed to make a spectacular dive. His broad mid-air smile confirms he was celebrating even before he landed.

"To be honest, I was a little bit fatigued (before making the play). Then they came down our side and there was an opportunity to come up with a play.

"Lucky I made the play otherwise Addo-Carr was going over untouched. Once I got the ball I thought 'back yourself, just run.' Once I got to the 50m I was fairly confident I would get there.

"There was a lot of great moments in life and that is the part of footy but to be honest when the siren went and the game was over it was more important than the try.

"I thought the debutants went well. When Moses Mbye came on I thought he had a big impact and so did the other boys. That is where the joy is for me.''

With 11 tries in as many Origin games Gagai is the ultimate big game player. To dominate as he does from the wing is a rare feat.

"I just don't want to let these guys down. It's about the will and turning up for the guy with the same jersey. I was fortunate enough to come into and era with the likes of Cooper Cronk and Thurston and Cameron Smith and you could feel the chemistry.

"We have been trying to build that chemistry so when you get on the field you don't let each other down. I love these guys.''