Maroons great backs Gagai to shut down Roberts
THE man regarded as one of Queensland's greatest centres, Steve Renouf, is confident Dane Gagai will succeed in his shift off the flank to guard one of the most potent runners in the game.
Gagai will cover for the injured Greg Inglis - an outstanding contributor in the series' opening two games.
As well as looking dangerous every time he touched the ball, Inglis shut down Blues centre James Roberts, giving the man most regard as the fastest in the game no chance to use his speed.
Gagai has some defensive frailties at club level and faces a huge challenge at Suncorp Stdium on Wednesday night when he pairs with winger Corey Oates for the first time.
But Renouf believes he will succeed.
"He's played in the centres (at club level) as well, so it's not like it's new to him," Renouf said.
"He played for Souths in the centres (over the past few weeks), so I don't think he'll be too affected by that.
"We've also got Billy Slater still there (at the back) and I think he made a difference in that second game."
Renouf, who had a glittering career for the Maroons, playing 11 games between 1991 and '98, said there was rarely little margin in Origin clashes and Queensland's series loss was no cause for alarm.
"We've gone through big change," he said. "This team has been pretty special, to be honest, over the last 10 years.
"They're just a group of really good players that have fortunately come together over the last decade.
"But look at the players we've lost (coming into this series).
"I think the most important loss from the player point of view is Cam Smith. We see the difference he made for Melbourne, just having him there is a massive difference.
"It's the same for Queensland level, he just dominates that ruck by guiding the team around and they really miss that, I think."