Wally Lewis says Gillett can play No.6 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wally Lewis says Gillett can play No.6

Wayne Heming 20/09/2011 05:19:03 PM Comments (0)

Wally Lewis has backed young standby Matt Gillett to cover the five-eighth role if Darren Lockyer doesn't play in Brisbane's NRL preliminary final against Manly on Friday night.

Captain Lockyer will make a decision on Thursday after testing his surgically-repaired cheekbone in a tackling session at training in Sydney.

If he can't play, Gillett is coach Anthony Griffin's choice to replace him and give some defensive size and power against Manly's intimidating left-hand attack.

Five-eighth great Lewis said Gillett was a natural, instinctive player with the skills to play several positions.

"I really like the look of him (Gillett) as a footballer," said Lewis.

"Matt could be playing fullback, front-row, hooker or halfback ... well maybe not halfback, that might be a bit different.

"But he's a kid who makes some pretty smart decisions under pressure and when he has to run the ball he runs it and he runs it damn hard.

"He's got good hands and a good pass and he's got that little left foot dribble kick that he used effectively on a few occasions this season.

"He produced a little chip and chase kick last weekend which brought the house down.

"He's a natural footballer."

Lockyer, who talked positively about his own chances of playing, agreed with Lewis' assessment that Gillett had all the tools to wear his No.6 jumper if it came down to that.

"Matt's a talented player, he's great with the footy in his hands," Lockyer said.

"The other option there is Ben Hunt, so if I don't play there's people to cover me and if I do play, and it doesn't work out, there's still someone to come in."

Even Manly captain Jamie Lyon had a rap for last year's NRL rookie of the year Gillett.

"I think he's a very good footballer. He's pretty hard to handle and he's got some good footwork for a big fella," said Lyon.

"I don't think they'll lose too much. I know Locky's been around a while but I think Gillett is a good player and if he gets the nod I think he'll do a good job."

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