Gagai certain Origin II starter for Qld

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Gagai certain Origin II starter for Qld

The thought tore Dane Gagai up inside.

Should he pull out of State of Origin II?

His leg hurt every time he ran.

Not good for a winger.

And then came the stomach bug that hit Queensland’s Gold Coast camp.

Cowboys flyer Kyle Feldt had already been flown in on standby.

In the end Gagai overcame the odds, recovering from a quad strain to be a confirmed starter for Wednesday’s Origin II in Brisbane.

But Gagai admitted he thought the worst while watching Feldt train on the right wing with the main group for the camp’s first week while relegated to sideline drills.

“At the very start (of camp) it was in my mind whether I would be right,” Gagai said.

“Every time I would run I could feel it pulling as if it was going to tear – it was pretty painful.

“It would have been difficult but if I didn’t think I would be able to contribute I would have put my hand up and pulled out.

“I wouldn’t have gone out there and played for Queensland if I wasn’t 100 per cent right.

“I wouldn’t do that to the boys.”

The winger ran freely when he joined the main group at training for the first time at their Gold Coast camp on Sunday.

Forward Jacob Lillyman also returned to training after missing Friday’s session due to the stomach virus, ensuring the entire squad were together for the first time on Sunday.

Halfback Cooper Cronk was in and out of Sunday’s session dealing with the last remnants of the illness but has been given the all clear to play.

Gagai was breathing a sigh of relief after first suffering the injury two weeks ago in Newcastle’s round 13 clash with North Queensland.

“I noticed it at halftime against the Cowboys,” he said.

“Then against the Warriors I chased after (Tuimoala) Lolohea at the back end of the game and it was a lot more painful.

“So coming into camp I got treatment straight away.”

Gagai immediately began rehab when he arrived at the camp on Wednesday.

Gagai was also one of the six players to suffer the gastro bug that went through the team.

He will keep receiving treatment until match day and is sporting a thigh guard and strapping on his right leg.

But he confirmed he would back up from his game one heroics when he made 175m from 21 runs, scoring the decisive try in Queensland’s 6-4 win.

“I felt comfortable and it didn’t cross my mind at all,” Gagai said after training.

“Hopefully I make a big impact on the game.”

Feldt will fly back to the Cowboys.

Meanwhile, the start of Queensland training on Sunday was delayed when a group of kangaroos refused to budge from the field.

After backrower Aidan Guerra tried to shepherd them away, Maroons assistant Steve Walters jumped in a buggy and moved them on.

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