After eight games in five years, Gagan has big shoes to fill at Souths


The only downside to Gagan’s debut for the club is his surname will be easily mixed up with fellow right centre Dane Gagai.

“We’ve got two ‘Gags’: we’ll call them ‘Gag Left and Gag Right’,” fullback Alex Johnston quipped.

“He’ll [Gagan] 100 per cent do a good job for us. I’ve been keen to see him play first grade with us for a long while now.”

Gagai said of Gagan: “He’s been biding his time and playing well in the reggies [reserve grade]. I was meant to pick Greggy up this morning for training, but he sent me a message saying he was crook.

“We’re fortunate to have great depth here in the team. We trust the person who fills in, no matter what role it is. Everyone knows their job. It’s a great headache to have when players are contesting positions.

“He came to the Knights when I was there. He’s a big strong lad, he’s got good carries and is good defensively.”

Cabramatta junior Gagan came through the Eels ranks and played a handful of games at Cronulla before moving to Newcastle. He arrived at Redfern last year, but struggled with injury.

Inglis missed Sunday’s clash against the Titans, will miss the Sea Eagles clash and be a better chance of playing against the Warriors on the Sunshine Coast next Saturday.

Braidon Burns broke down against the Titans with what was initially feared to be an ankle injury, but later confirmed as a grade-two hamstring tear and will be sidelined for six weeks.

Gagan will slot into left centre inside Campbell Graham with Gagai and Corey Allen to combine on the right edge.

Damien Cook was spared any contact after he received a heavy knock against the Titans, but is in no doubt for the Sea Eagles clash.

Meanwhile, Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans praised the return of Tom Trbojevic against the Warriors.

“In case anyone forgot what sort of player he was, he quickly reminded everyone how important he is to this team,” Cherry-Evans said.

“He’s an important part of our team, most fullbacks are. Tom is no different and, if anything, it’s probably amplified [at Manly] because he has such a big impact on the players around him. Rep players have that impact on their teammates and get the best out of them. He lifted a lot of players’ confidence going into the weekend. We played more of an expansive style with Tom in the side.

“It’s games like that you’re reminded why he plays for NSW and Australia. He’s good at what he does.”

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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