Gagai feared NRL finals dream was over

Dane Gagai has been selected for South's semi-final after overcoming a hamstring injury.
Dane Gagai has been selected for South's semi-final after overcoming a hamstring injury.

South Sydney star Dane Gagai admits fearing his NRL premiership dream was over when he injured his hamstring for the first time in his career two weeks ago.

However Gagai has declared himself fit for Friday's semi-final against Manly after completing training with the team on Tuesday morning.

Gagai is one of two changes made by coach Wayne Bennett to the 17 blitzed by Sydney Roosters last week, along with Sam Burgess' return from suspension.

James Roberts is in the centres with Gagai, who missed last week's loss to the Roosters but passed a fitness test on Monday.

"I done some testing (on Monday) and got through it fine," Gagai told AAP.

"It was just about changing direction at full speed, stopping after being at top speed, and I had no troubles with it.

"I was out on the field with the boys today and got through that session fine. It's just about resting up, getting ready for captain's run and take the field on Friday."

Gagai revealed initially fearing he would miss the entire finals series when he pulled up lame early in the second half of their round-25 win over the Roosters.

It is the first time in his ten years in the game he had hurt his hamstring.

"I've been pretty blessed. I don't know the exact number, but I reckon I've only missed about seven games in my career through injury," he said.

"I didn't know how long the recovery would be, and there was a bit of doubt in my mind at the start whether I'd be right to even play finals.

"But we've done a great job here.

"And I've put all my focus into getting the leg right because I'm confident once I take the field that I'm going to do whatever it takes to not let the boys down."

Bennett has also shuffled around his backline, with Adam Doueihi returning to fullback, and Alex Johnston and Campbell Graham on the wing.

Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds said he was keen to revert back to a back-five that enjoyed plenty of success throughout the season.

"You form combinations throughout the year and want to be playing your best footy this time," Reynolds said.

"On the weekend we obviously didn't get a chance to do that through our start, and we tried to catch the game up playing a different style of footy."

The Rabbitohs take on a Sea Eagles side buoyed by the return of prop Martin Taupau from suspension, with youngster Toafofoa Sipley on an extended bench.

In the other semi-final, Parramatta get front-rower Kane Evans back from his one-game ban, forcing Ray Stone out of the 17-man line-up.

The Eels face a Melbourne side unchanged.

NRL FINALS WEEK TWO (ALL TIMES AEST)

Friday

Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm

Saturday

Storm v Eels at AAMI Park, 7.50pm

Australian Associated Press