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NRL: Gagai sticks strong with improving Knights

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The Newcastle Knights have received a massive boost on the eve of the side’s clash in Tamworth this weekend, with Dane Gagai re-signing with the club.

The star centre, 33, inked a deal for an additional two seasons, with both parties agreeing to a mutual option for the final year.

It comes as Newcastle prepares to face the Wests Tigers in round 10 at Scully Park on Saturday 11 May.

“We are delighted Dane has chosen to re-sign with the Knights,” director of football Peter Parr said.

“It’ll not only benefit the current playing group but assist, educate and help elevate future Newcastle NRL players.”

Since his debut in 2011, Gagai has made 276 appearances spread across a decorated 14-year career.

That includes 178 NRL games over nine seasons in the red and blue Knights jersey.

Along the way, he’s represented Australia and Queensland in the State of Origin arena.

“Dane is one of the best outside backs in the NRL… and playing as well as ever,” Parr said.

“When you combine his on-field performance, experience and leadership, he’s a highly-valued member of our club.”

Newcastle heads into the Tamworth showdown chasing its third victory on the trot following impressive wins over the Dolphins (18-14) and Warriors (14-8).

To aid the team’s chances, Tyson Frizell and Jacob Saifiti have been named to return to the line-up, too, while prop Leo Thompson is set to notch his 50th game for the club.

The Knights and Tigers will also contest the Allan McMahon Shield this weekend.

Parr admitted it was an important fixture for each organisation.

“Allan had a strong affiliation with both clubs having played 110 first grade matches at the Balmain Tigers between 1975 and 1981,” he said.

“Then, at the tender age of 31, he was announced as the inaugural head coach of the Newcastle Knights and set out to create a culture based on toughness and resilience.

“Allan paved the way for the Knights in their introduction to the league in 1988 and laid the foundations that would bear fruits in years to come.

“Newcastle and Wests will remember an inspiring figure of both clubs and continue his legacy.

“So, that adds to the excitement of the encounter.”

The showdown kicks off at 3pm.

  • Newcastle Knights (squad): 1. David Armstrong, 2. Greg Marzhew, 3. Dane Gagai (c), 4. Bradman Best, 5. Enari Tuala, 6. Tyson Gamble, 7. Jackson Hastings, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Jayden Brailey (c), 10. Leo Thompson, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Kai Pearce-Paul, 13. Adam Elliott; interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Dylan Lucas, 17. Brodie Jones; extended bench: 18. Jack Hetherington, 19. Jack Cogger, 20. Mat Croker, 21. Jed Cartwright, 22. Krystian Mapapalangi

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