Frustrated Gagai ready to quit Rabbitohs
Dane Gagai is considering quitting South Sydney in a bid to shift from wing to centre after being disappointed at the Rabbitohs' decision to sign James Roberts mid-season.
The Daily Telegraph understands there has been interest from the struggling Gold Coast Titans in signing Queensland's State of Origin star.
Roberts, a specialist centre, signed with the Rabbitohs two weeks ago and played his first game for them against Newcastle last weekend.
There were suggestions that Gagai could leave Redfern before the NRL's June 30 deadline but it would seem more likely to occur after this season.
Gagai still has another two years remaining on his contract.
South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett views Gagai as a specialist winger, a position where he excels playing for Queensland.
It is understood senior Gold Coast officials have informally spoken with Gagai about his immediate playing future.
The Titans are expected to have additional room in their salary cap when high-priced utility Tyrone Peachey is released to rejoin Penrith.
While not blaming Roberts personally, Gagai feels he will now be permanently pushed onto the wing when centre Braidon Burns returns from injury. Kyle Turner has also been strong at centre this season.
One source close to Souths described Gagai as the "world's best winger but he certainly sees himself as a centre''.
"Souths are in it to win this year so letting a player of his calibre go before June 30 wouldn't be a good idea. I couldn't see that happening. Gagai on the wing is the best option for Souths."
Gagai excels at State of Origin level, scoring 11 tries in 11 matches since debuting for Queensland in 2015.
He is nowhere near as prolific at NRL level, scoring 17 tries in 106 NRL matches since 2015.
Gold Coast head of performance and culture Mal Meninga is a huge fan of Gagai and sources have indicated the Titans would promise to play Gagai in the centres.
Gold Coast desperately needs an injection of class to lift the club from the premiership cellar.
Gagai is on a contract worth more than $700,000 a season.
Mackay-born Gagai has always held a desire to return to Queensland and it is understood his wife and two children has never quite settled in to life in Sydney despite the efforts of Souths players and staff.
With Greg Inglis having retired, George Burgess moving on, John Sutton's likely retirement and Gagai's possible move, Souths are building a whopping war chest for coming years.
Gagai was brilliant in Origin I, crossing twice in Queensland's 18-14 win at Suncorp Stadium.