Dane Gagai looks set for the Rabbitohs.
Dane Gagai looks set for the Rabbitohs. DARREN PATEMAN

Brown's resigned to losing star man Gagai

NATHAN Brown appears to have accepted his goose has been cooked in the fight to sign star centre Dane Gagai for next season.

The off-contract Queensland State of Origin star has agreed to sign a $2.1 million three-year deal with South Sydney beginning next year, according to The Courier-Mail.

Gagai's decision is a devastating blow for the re-building club after recently missing out on several key signings, including Cronulla's Jack Bird.

Now they've lost their highest profile player to the Rabbitohs.

Gagai admitted recently the Knights' poor on-field performance was going to be a factor in his next contract decision and the club's shock win over Canberra on Sunday has not swayed him.

In a radio interview on Monday morning, Knights coach Nathan Brown appeared to suggest the NRL's salary cap rules surrounding the sourcing of third-party deals for marquee players put his club at a disadvantage in the fight to retain Gagai.

"We'd love Gags to stay, but we also know the market is very, very hot at the moment and different clubs in today's game have different abilities to find extra money," Brown told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast.

"Some clubs work off a certain salary cap and other clubs work of other caps due to third party arrangements which is the way the game is today.

"So what someone may be able to afford to pay Gags and what we may be able to afford to pay to Gags are two different things."

Brown also hinted Gagai is only leaving his club because of the Rabbitohs' ability to source third party deals.

"We'd love him to stay and I know deep, deep down he'd love to stay, but I also know he has a young family as well," he said.

Brown's joy at his team's second win of the season has been short lived.

Gagai starred for the Knights against the Raiders after switching to fullback and Brown admitted he is likely to stay in the No. 1 jumper.

In his first game at fullback this season, Gagai ran for 124 metres and broke through five tackles to play a key role in the victory.

Crucially, according to Fox Sports Stats he got his hands on the ball 22 times, well up on the 10 he had in his last start in the centres against the Gold Coast.

"He's a very gifted attacking player and when he is at fullback he can get himself involved in the game a lot more," Knights coach Nathan Brown said on Sunday.

"For the balance of our team, and at this stage it seems like it might be a better fit for Gags to get a lot more opportunity."

Gagai has scored just one try and created one try assist this season, with the Queensland centre struggling for opportunities on the right edge.

When asked whether Gagai will continue to play at fullback ahead of former No.1 Brendan Elliot, Brown suggested he would stay there for next Saturday's clash with Penrith.

"I would have thought it won't be a one off at this stage," Brown said.

News Corp Australia

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