NRL on his mind

YEARS from now, Mackay's Dane Gagai will still love telling the story of how he made his NRL debut in the same team as the legendary Darren Lockyer.

Gagai played seven NRL games on the wing for the Broncos last year and is honoured to have been able to call Lockyer his teammate.

"Playing alongside Darren Lockyer in his final year was definitely a career highlight for me," he said.

"It will be a story to tell the grandkids."

Gagai hopes to create more NRL memories this season, with the competition kicking off today.

The 21-year-old will start the season with the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup but, after getting that taste of the top grade last season, is determined to fight his way back into the NRL and lock in a spot.

He's well aware that's a tough task.

"I'd definitely like to make one of those positions mine," he said.

"But it makes it hard when we have a backline full of international players."

Gagai played in the Broncos' pre-season trials and got positive feedback from coach Anthony Griffin.

Gagai said he gained "good weight" during the pre-season, leaving him in the best physical shape of his career and boosting his confidence.

"I feel fit, strong and fast," he said.

When he wasn't playing for the Broncos last season, Gagai was starring for the club's Toyota Cup side.

He was named in the under-20 team of the year for the second consecutive season and was also rewarded with a spot in the Junior Kangaroos.

He played fullback for the under-20 side and while that's his preferred position, he would be happy to play wherever he was needed in the NRL.

At the top of the Broncos' fullback ranks is Gagai's cousin Josh Hoffman.

Gagai said Hoffman provided him with help and advice, after following a similar path to the NRL through the under-20s.

"I go to him for a lot of things," Gagai said.

But the family feeling at the Broncos went beyond that, Gagai said.

"Everyone looks after each other," he said.

"It's a great environment to be in."



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