Gillett even sharper for Broncos in 2011 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gillett even sharper for Broncos in 2011

Wayne Heming 02/02/2011 03:39:08 PM Comments (0)

Most young footballers would want to draw on a debut season where they scored 12 tries, made their representative debut and carried off a major national player award.

But 2010 NRL Dally M rookie-of-the-year Matt Gillett says he's put his dream debut season for the Broncos behind him as he prepares for the next challenge of his budding career.

Gillett's stunning transformation from Queensland Cup player to wearing the green and gold for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea last November was an amazing ride for the former Bribie Island Warrigal junior spurred on to making the most of his talent by the tragic death of Bribie teammate Todd Parnell at a party in July 2009.

Tipped for representative honours by former Queensland and Australian halfback, Mark Murray, before he'd cracked the Brisbane side, Gillett proved a revelation for the Broncos.

He played in several different positions for the Broncos, including filling in for Darren Lockyer at five-eighth late in the season.

Gillett could not have imagined such a rapid rise in the NRL with such a limited preparation but Broncos coach Ivan Henjak spotted his potential when he began training with the team late in 2009.

"That's behind me, it was only one season," says the 22-year-old, who has blossomed from a shy, tentative newcomer.

"You're only as good as your last game, so that's all out the window now."

In 12 months, Gillett's comfort zone has improved to the point where he looks like he's been at the club for five years or more.

"I'm a bit more comfortable and relaxed knowing all the boys," he said after another gruelling contact training session this week.

"Last year I'd come to training really nervous meeting all the boys."

With competition for back-row spots between Corey Parker, Ben Te'o, Sam Thaiday, Alex Glenn, and the returning Dane Carlaw so fierce, Gillett is not taking anything for granted.

"There's a lot of guys wanting those spots and with Daneo coming back it's put the pressure on all of us," he said.

"I just want to get a run-on spot with the Broncos and see how we go."

With so much mobility, versatility and strike power available this season, Henjak is keen for Gillett to find a home as a wide-running, ball-playing back-rower where he can find some consistency.

"We've got four or five wide running forwards, some versatile players and some hit-up forwards," said Henjak.

"There'll be some positions that will be hotly contested.

"Matt's looking a bit bigger and he's looking like a real football player now."

A likely Broncos starting side to play the Cowboys on March 11:

Josh Hoffman, Denan Kemp, Justin Hodges, Gerard Beale, Jharal Yow Yeh, Darren Lockyer (c), Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Ben T'eo, Corey Parker.

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