Brisbane Broncos player Matt Gillett is seen during a team training session in Brisbane, Monday, August 12, 2019. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Brisbane Broncos player Matt Gillett is seen during a team training session in Brisbane, Monday, August 12, 2019. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

Gillett returns in the nick of time

Red Hill veteran Matt Gillett is primed to make a timely return to rugby league on Friday as back-rower Tevita Pangai Jr prepares to face the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.

Pangai Jr has disputed his grade two dangerous contact charge against Penrith five-eighth James Maloney and will argue for a lesser penalty in front of the judiciary panel in Sydney tonight.

Pangai Jr faces the possibility of not playing another game this season with a guilty charge likely to rule him out for four games, forcing him to miss Friday night's blockbuster against the Rabbitohs, the remaining two rounds of the regular season and the first week of finals.

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Matt Gillett at Broncos training. Photo: Glenn Hunt/ AAP Imaging
Matt Gillett at Broncos training. Photo: Glenn Hunt/ AAP Imaging

The club said they hoped to lower the grading of the charge which would reduce the forward's suspension to one game.

Broncos captain Darius Boyd said he thought the charge was excessive, but agreed that players needed to be protected.

"It's hard to make things black and white but in saying that, it is disappointing," Boyd said.

"Four or five weeks seems pretty big to be honest but you've got to protect the players and protect the game.

"I think sometimes the individual player cops a bit more criticism."

The loss of Pangai Jr has come at a crucial time with the return of Gillett, who is set to bolster the Broncos in their battle with former coach Wayne Bennett's Rabbitohs.

The 31-year-old has been sidelined for almost two months with niggling injuries but is expected to be named in the second-row in the absence of Pangai Jr.

It will be Gillett's first NRL game since the Broncos' Round 15 clash with the Knights on June 29.

Boyd said he expected Gillett to have a big impact for the Broncos as they look to hold on to their top-eight position leading in to the finals.

"Tevita's been playing some great footy there but sometimes when someone (Gillett) is out of sight, out of mind, you forget what he can do," Boyd said.

"He's just a calm head and a leader among the group. His defence can win games for you.

"He keeps the ruck solid and strong on the edge. He will really shore up that right edge."