Respected rugby league journalist Paul Kent has savaged South Sydney for their handling of Dane Gagai’s reported desire for a change of scenery.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday evening that Gagai wanted out of Redfern, with the Gold Coast Titans emerging as a suitor for his services.
Gagai reportedly prefers to play in the centres, rather than on the wing - South Sydney coach Wayne Bennet’s preference for the Queensland star.
Bennett told media on Wednesday that Gagai denied the reports, reiterating his desire to remain with the Rabbitohs.
But Kent was having none of it.
On Fox Sports’ NRL 360, the veteran writer all but said the Rabbitohs were hypocritical in their response, drawing a parallel to their frequent denials of their interest in James Roberts - only to sign him weeks later.
“I feel sorry for Gagai that he has to lie to his teammates to perpetuate this lie that South Sydney are fostering,” he said.
“The story is 100 per cent correct. He wants to play centre and if that means moving that’s what he’ll do.
“South Sydney a month ago were lying to us about Jimmy the Jet coming to the club.
“Wayne Bennett comes out then repeats the lie and says we had to throw you off the scent.
“What a joke, it’s okay for Souths fans to sit there and say it’s okay to lie to us when you’re about to recruit a player like James Roberts
“Is it now okay for Souths fans to be lied to when a player legitimately has questions about his future at the club?”
Gagai frustrated on wing
Gagai was reportedly frustrated by the Rabbitohs’ mid-season signing of specialist centre James Roberts.
Despite starring on the wing for Queensland in State of Origin, Gagai reportedly sees himself as a centre, and has chafed at head coach Wayne Bennett’s preference to have him on the wing.
There is speculation Gagai could leave South Sydney before the June 30 deadline, but a deal to offload the star player is unlikely to materialise in time.
The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie’s report also suggested the Gold Coast Titans would be strong contenders for Gagai’s services.
Gagai has two years left to run on his current contract.