Gillett backs where he belongs
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has ended his positional experiment with Matt Gillett with the Origin star to return to his beloved back-row role for Thursday night's clash against the Roosters.
Gillett played one trial against the Titans and the opening three rounds of the premiership in the No.13 jumper as Seibold moved the Maroons ace into the midfield to simplify his role in his return to the NRL from a fractured neck.
But almost one year to the day since revelations of Gillett's career-threatening injury first surfaced, the Broncos veteran is back in the No.12 jumper for Brisbane's daunting road trip to face the reigning premiers.
Regarded as the finest right-edge back-rower in the code 12 months ago, Gillett is set to mark up against Roosters, NSW and Test skipper Boyd Cordner in a mouth-watering second-row duel at the SCG.
Gillett has toiled manfully in the opening three weeks, amassing a whopping 122 tackles at an average of almost 41 per game, but the 30-year-old admits he has at times felt like a "headless chook" operating as a middle forward.
Now Seibold has options. With Matt Lodge returning from suspension to bolster the midfield with Joe Ofahengaue and Tevita Pangai Jr, Seibold has the comfort of three big boppers to ensure Gillett can reprise his role as Brisbane's No.1 back-rower.
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd believes Gillett will relish the prospect of returning to the position that made him an Origin and Test star.
"'Gillo' is one of the best edge defenders in the game and has played there for Queensland and Australia a number of times for a reason," Boyd said.
"We have a young team so I think having someone like Gillo on the edge will strengthen up that side and his talk and leadership will be awesome for us."
In other team news, David Fifita, who started in Gillett's slot last week, returns to the bench alongside Jaydn Su'A and Tom Flegler, who retains his spot despite a night to forget in his third game against the Dragons.
The No.14 utility role will be filled by Gehamat Shibasaki, a strapping 20-year-old three-quarter who plays his second NRL match after his debut against the Cowboys in round 22 last year.
Roosters champion Cooper Cronk has been named to return from a hamstring injury and Boyd is wary of his former Maroons teammate.
"He is a class player and has been at the top of the game for a long time," Boyd said.
"Coops is probably the best game-manager in the game so he will be controlling the team and getting them where they need to be, and then you'll see (Luke) Keary off the back of that.
"There shouldn't be any excuses any week … it is a challenge against the premiers."