Matt Gillett will be sidelined for the Broncos.
Matt Gillett will be sidelined for the Broncos.

Massive blow for Broncos, Maroons as Gillett sidelined

QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters has expressed his shock at revelations star Broncos and Maroons back-rower Matt Gillett could miss the entire Origin series with a fractured neck.

In a crushing blow for the Maroons and Broncos, Gillett faces up to three months out with a serious vertebrae injury that has ruled him out of Saturday's clash against the Warriors in Auckland.

In a remarkable act of bravery, Gillett secretly carried the injury for a month after suffering a knock to his neck in Brisbane's round-one loss to the Dragons.

But the pain eventually became too much for Gillett, whose incredible commitment to the Broncos will have costly ramifications for the Maroons.

The Courier-Mail understands Gillett will not require surgery. The injury is not career-threatening, with Brisbane's No. 1 forward only needing rest to ensure his neck, which has three fractures, makes a full recovery.

The Broncos were so tight-lipped about Gillett's setback that The Courier-Mail broke the news to Walters, who personally phoned the Test forward to check on his welfare.

While naturally disappointed, Gillett told Walters he is relieved that he will run again with his two young children and eventually return to rugby league.

"I am shocked, I'm just glad he will play again," Walters said.

"I've spoken to Matt and he confirmed the news.

"Matt is glad he will be able to get back to rugby league and play the game he loves.

"It's a huge blow to lose him for the Maroons and Broncos.

"He's been an integral part of our Origin team, he is a real pro. He doesn't need any coaching, he is so reliable and the Origin arena suits him.

"The tougher it gets, the better he plays. It's a big loss for Queensland, that's for sure.

"But his health comes first ... this could have been a whole lot worse."

Gillett did not travel to New Zealand with the Broncos squad. Instead, he stayed behind in Brisbane to consult a neck specialist, who confirmed the Test back-rower faces eight to 12 weeks in the casualty ward.

 

Gillett has carried the injury for the past month.
Gillett has carried the injury for the past month.

The best-case scenario would see Gillett sidelined for two months, which rules him out of Origin I on June 6, but possibly clears him for Game Two on June 24.

The worst-case scenario would see Gillett miss the entire Origin series, with Game Three at Suncorp Stadium on July 11 - effectively the three-month mark in his rehabilitation phase.

Walters, who resigned as Broncos assistant coach last week, said Brisbane teammates were aware Gillett was playing through the pain barrier.

"He suffered the injury in round one against the Dragons," he said. "I noticed at training that Matt had been carrying his neck injury and was doing his best.

"It shows his toughness. He didn't want to let his teammates down. He just battled on, I can't believe how tough he is."

 

 

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