Matt Gillett to be Broncos backrower - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Matt Gillett to be Broncos backrower

Wayne Heming 28/10/2010 05:26:14 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak will strip NRL rookie of the year Matt Gillett of his utility stripes to groom him into a full-time back-rower in 2011.

After an NRL debut season in which he swapped between lock, second-row, centre, hooker, wing and deputised at five-eighth for injured skipper Darren Lockyer, Gillett will be given an opportunity to cement a permanent starting back-row spot in Brisbane's 2011 pack which will include returning prop Ben Hannant in the front-row.

Gillett scored 12 tries in 21 NRL games in 2010 as he made a stunning transition from Queensland Cup player to fringe State of Origin representative.

While his ability to switch positions, start, or come off the bench as an impact player made him the NRL's best utility, Henjak is keen for the 22 year-old to lock down a more permanent role in his second season.

"As long as we don't get too many injuries because he's really versatile, I'd really like Matt to settle into a position for sure," Henjak told AAP four days before assembling his players for pre-season training.

"He's going to end up in the back-row and that's where he likes playing."

Gillett's impressive debut season did not surprise Henjak or former Queensland Test No.7 Mark Murray who earmarked him as a future representative player well before his shock first NRL appearance against the Cowboys.

Henjak is not concerned Gillett could fall victim to the second year blues which often hit young players coming off a big rookie season.

"Matt will take a lot out of last season," said a confident Henjak.

"I think he'll get a little bit bigger. He's a good size now but I think he'll put on a few kilos and get fitter which will allow him to handle more (playing) time.

"He's a little different. He'll be 23 next year. I know it was his rookie year but he'd had a different type of development than other young players have.

"He was quite mature and ready for his step up last year.

"He's a really humble guy too, he works hard and he's got a good attitude and he's done things pretty tough.

"I think he'll handle it fine."

Alex Glenn or Ben T'eo are capable of filling Gillett's utility role next season with both versatile and quick enough to play in the pack or in the backs.

Henjak meanwhile didn't rule out Brisbane unearthing another Gillett in 2011.

"We've got a couple of potential players who could surprise a few people," he said.

"I'm not going to say they will do what Matt Gillett did but they are fresh faces with a lot of ability."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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