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Gasnier Spills The Beans
Classy St George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier revealed he was extremely tempted by an offer from English glamour club Wigan before deciding to re-sign with the Dragons.
Gasnier and teammates Shaun Timmins and Lance Thompson have announced they would remain with the National Rugby League club for a further three years, taking the trio through until the end of 2006.
Gasnier was the only one of the three who gave serious thought to leaving after receiving a massive offer from Wigan via its chairman Maurice Lindsay.
It's understood the deal was up to three times more than Gasnier will receive at the Dragons.
"It was a very big thing," Gasnier said.
"I sat down with my family and girlfriend before deciding. It just wasn't worth it," he said.
"I think if I had gone over there and played football I would have regretted it.
"I didn't want to have that feeling."
Gasnier also received feelers from another English club as well as some NRL clubs, but the local junior elected to stay with St George Illawarra and try to win a premiership.
"The money was never going to be comparable because NRL clubs can't compete with the English pound," Gasnier said.
"I'm happy with the decision I made.
"It was a very lucrative offer and I probably wouldn't rule out going over there towards the end of my career because Maurice was very nice in his dealings and came across as a very nice person, and it would be a great club."
The 22-year-old Gasnier has played 62 matches for the Dragons since making his first grade debut as an 18-year-old in 2000, scoring 36 tries.
The nephew of legendary St George centre Reg Gasnier, he claimed his first test cap a year later when he played against Papua New Guinea on the 2001 Kangaroo tour.
But his recent progress has been stymied by injury and Gasnier admitted he was desperate to get back and push his claims for representative football.
"The main factor was I have never had a full season of rugby league so I want to play a full season and see where it gets me," he said.
"If I am lucky enough to play representative football I'd be ecstatic but if it doesn't take me there so be it, I'll be having fun with the Dragons.
"I just didn't want to sell myself short, and have that regret of saying what if, because I definitely want to play Origin."