Gasnier back to where he should be

You will be hard pressed to find Wayne Bennett over-enthused about anything, but when he saw that Dragons centre and club legend Mark Gasnier had put on 8 kilograms, he was excited. Very excited.

As the Dragons prepare for the annual Charity Shield clash tonight with the Bunnies, Gasnier, a former test centre is ready to get stuck in to the opponents and deliver a top-notch performance.

That’s probably my only regret, but it’s not really a regret because it’s out of your control,” Gasnier said.

“But it’s the only thing I look back at and get agitated by, because especially when I was younger …

“In 2000, I played half a season, eight games, I just got moved into the centres and Shaun Timmins got moved into lock, which I was really excited about because I wanted to play centre, then I broke my leg the week after.

“It’s frustrating but unfortunately there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Gasnier, who has had a history of injuries in the past resulting in lengthy stints on the sideline, were the results of freakish incidents, rather than his body feeling the heat.

“There was the broken leg in 2000,” Gasnier said.

“In 2002, it was a dislocated foot which took 24 weeks to heal. I had a broken collarbone. A wrist reconstruction. I had an operation on my knee and had a bit of bone taken out. I had my ankle surgery in the off-season.

“They are just kind of freak things that unfortunately caused me to miss a big chunk of seasons.”

When he left the Dragons previously, Gasnier played for State Francais for 22 months, and he knew that he was underweight for where he wanted to be, and so he knew that come the 2011 season, he would have to bulk up, and he did just that.

“I knew what my job was,” he said. “I did as much as I could for the team.

“It was an opportunity I didn’t want to waste.”

With his frame back to the level he wants it to be at, he believes that he can be an imposing figure on other centres and wingers as he runs towards them on the football field.

“Definitely,” Gasnier said. “I think I probably had my better seasons when I was playing at that heavier weight.

“As a footballer, your goal is to play at that maximum weight. Everyone is looking for that edge.

“Strength is one of them – provided you have speed and agility and carry that weight. I think it’s very helpful.”

As the season draws closer and closer, Gasnier has also been focusing on his agility and mobility, highlighting that it has improved since he began the training for it.

“I am getting back there,” Gasnier said. “Come round one, I’ll be ready to go.”

With Gasnier now signed on until the end of the 2014 season, he believes that the Dragons can go back-to-back, but refuses to talk too much about it, as both he and his team have to do their talking on the field.

“We haven’t spoken about it in detail,” he said.

“From a personal point of view, I’d love to do it again. I think the biggest thing now is that it is not something you need to speak about because you know what is required. I think the group will pick up on that. If you are cutting corners then I am sure someone will be able to chip you.

“There’s more of a sense of keeping everyone honest. I think the bond is better, everyone knows how much hard work and effort it takes to get there and then to achieve it. Everyone gets a sense of what you are doing works.”

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