TIMELY RETURN: Matt Gillett of the Broncos will be back on deck to play the Roosters.
TIMELY RETURN: Matt Gillett of the Broncos will be back on deck to play the Roosters. GLENN HUNT

Gillett back to boost struggling Broncos

MATT Gillett’s return from injury could not have come at a better time for Brisbane as it prepares to face a fired-up Roosters side looking to wreak havoc heading towards the NRL finals.

With key representative forwards Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday both missing the clash through suspension, the inclusion of Gillett gives Brisbane a strong starting pack to tackle the Roosters, reeling from the fact they won’t play finals football after being the minor premiers for the previous three seasons.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, who has been copping some heat from various quarters after Brisbane’s sixth loss from its past eight games, has been forced to make some changes.

Young gun Tom Opacic, 21, who made his NRL debut against the Bulldogs last month, has been named in the centres again, with Bennett forced to go with a inexperienced bench of Herman Ese’ese, Tevita Pangai jnr, Jai Arrow and Joe Ofahengaue, with Jaydn Su’a named 18th man.

Of Serbian descent, the 100kg Opacic suffered a foot injury in his debut for the Broncos, who are struggling for outside backs with both Jack Reed and Jordan Kahu part of the club’s casualty ward.

Bennett’s decision to invite Opacic to train with Brisbane this season could pay dividends for him and the Redcliffe product, who was part of the Broncos’ 2013-14 NYC under-20s teams.

Brisbane has to bounce back from losing 31-12 to Penrith last round.

Not that Bennett would be worried by critics or paper talk, but for the Broncos to regain some confidence lost during the State of Origin series, they need to at least post a tough, gritty, ugly win this weekend.


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