The Rabbitohs reportedly offered star center Dane Gagai only a one-year deal to remain in Redfern, while the Knights tabled a three-year deal, ultimately securing his exit.
Gagai has been in scintillating form his new club playing in the centres, a position coach Jason Demetriou has struggled to fill for the Rabbitohs.
The South Sydney side lost two key veterans after the 2021 grand final campaign, with Adam Reynolds also finding a longer deal at the Brisbane Broncos after he was again offered only a single-year extension.
The Rabbitohs have been lackluster to start their 2022 campaign and The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Kent believes the downturn in form can be attributed club’s minimal depth in the outside backs.
“Look how well Gagai is playing and that has been the vulnerability for the Rabbitohs right now, their outside strike power,” Kent said on NRL360.
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“They are struggling to find someone to get the job done, Gagai is braining them in Newcastle, I think it is concern.”
The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio revealed how the Knights secured their newest star.
“It was a three-year deal that was the difference… this is my understanding, he would have stayed at South Sydney but they were only offering one with a possible two depending on how he wants in that first year,” Riccio said .
“The Broncos were also having a crack too, Kevvie (Walters) was keen for two years only.”
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“Even if you sign him for three years.. contracts are so fluid now in the NRL, that if you sign him for three years and after a year and half he is busted.. you say we need to have a talk and come to some arrangement,” Kent replied.
“There is a way to keep him there, where there is talk of a premiership window.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley went on to explain how the Rabbitohs are feeling the pinch after letting Gagai go.
“They are in their premiership window and they let go of Adam (Reynolds)… you’ve also let go of Dane Gagai who was probably the most underrated player in that backline last year,” Crawley said.
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“The pressure he takes off Cody (Walker) and Latrell just by standing out there and being such a force… you can see it in Cody at the moment.
“We are looking at the premiership window and the fact that Gagai, if not the best center in the competition is in the conversation, he is that good a player.”
The Rabbitohs will be without star fullback Latrell Mitchell for an extended period as they hope to record a win against the Bulldogs in Round 6.
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