Gillett to replace Lockyer in prelim final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gillett to replace Lockyer in prelim final

By David Beniuk 22/09/2011 07:43:15 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin will allow stand-in five-eighth Matt Gillett to keep a clear head and play his own game when he fills the NRL's biggest boots on Friday night.

As the Broncos boss confirmed the 23-year-old utility would replace Darren Lockyer at five-eighth in the preliminary final against Manly, he was adamant Gillett should focus on playing to his strengths.

"I haven't given him much (to think about) at all," Griffin told reporters as Brisbane wrapped up their preparation at the Sydney Football Stadium on Thursday.

"I just asked him to do his best and not to try and be Darren Lockyer, that's the important thing.

"I suppose you miss a little bit of leadership and direction but we've got to find another way to compensate that.

"Matt Gillett will run the ball and (halfback) Peter Wallace is ready to take on some more responsibility.

"It's not about what we're missing now, it's about what we're taking to the game and we're all pretty comfortable with where we're going."

Griffin said the 2010 Dally M rookie of the year didn't need to produce an impersonation of the Test captain in his battle with Sea Eagles gun Kieran Foran.

"We'd love to have Locky there but (Gillett) brings something as well, he brings what Matt Gillett's got," Griffin said.

"It was the same when (Josh) Hoffman was out, (Gerard) Beale comes in and he brings what Gerard Beale's got, and (Ben) Te'o when Thaiday was out.

"So we just get on with it and we'll give it our best shot."

Retiring champion Lockyer's facial fracture has been virtually the only talking point leading into the match, even after he ruled himself out on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old surprised onlookers at the SFS by participating in an intense session, completing all but the Broncos' contact work.

"We're not playing any games there, (Gillett's) going to play five-eighth," Griffin said.

"(Ruling Lockyer out has) given us a lot of certainty about where we're going now, that's why it was important we made a decision yesterday.

"We got here this year with 25 players.

"We've put ourselves in this position because we're a strong club and that's going to be the same tomorrow night."

Griffin said his side, heavy on young talent like Gillett, had the belief they could progress to a grand final send-off for Lockyer against Melbourne or the Warriors, despite plenty writing off their chances without the league great.

"They're probably right to a point, everyone thinks that straight away, I mean outside our camp," the coach said.

"But it's important that 17 guys out there believe what they believe and I'm sure they're going to do a great job."

With favourites Manly pulling up the shutters, Brisbane threw open their final session, where Lockyer's presence was a boost for a side that has won its past eight games.

"He's obviously trying to help where he can and contribute and the boys love having him around," Griffin said.

"We all feel for him, obviously, in the position he's in at the moment, but you can just see by the way he's out there, he's in good spirits and he's trying to help the boys get ready."

The sides split the results in their two encounters this season but Manly have won five of the past seven between the clubs.

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