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Moore convinced 'smart' Gillett has State of Origin X-factor

Matt Gillett of the Broncos offloads in the tackle during the round five NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Skilled Park on April 5, 2013 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Matt Gillett of the Broncos offloads in the tackle during the round five NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Skilled Park on April 5, 2013 on the Gold Coast, Australia. Matt Roberts / Getty Images

MAROONS icon Billy Moore believes Matt Gillett is a "smarter" player this year and says the Bribie Island product has the X-factor to make an impact in this year's State of Origin series.

Gillett burst into the state squad last year but had limited time on the park for Queensland during its seventh consecutive series triumph.

Moore reckoned the back-rower's impact dwindled for the Brisbane Broncos during the remainder of the season, but said there were excuses.

"This time last year he was on a roll and we were talking him up to play for Australia, but he went to Origin and came out the other side of it a little bit gun shy," Moore said.

"A lot of people probably thought that his bubble had burst."

Moore said, however, opposing outfits had simply become more accustomed to Gillett's style of play and as a result the 24-year-old had been steadily adjusting to that this season.

"The defence works you out after a while and it gets harder to do what you want to do, and I reckon he's had to adapt to that," Moore said.

"That was his learning curve of 2012. I reckon this year's version of Matt Gillett is a lot smarter. He's a lot more aware of what he has to do."

Moore compared Gillett's apparent revival to that of prop Matthew Scott, who initially struggled after making his debut for Queensland in 2006.

"Matt Scott disappeared for probably 18 months but came back a better player because he learned from the experience," Moore said. "I think Matt Gillett has risen again. I don't reckon he's as dominant now as he was in the same period last year, but that doesn't matter.

"What's important is that he has learned from the experience and taken it on board."

Moore expects Gillett to be selected on the bench for Queensland this year and is predicting more game time for the 187cm, 105kg utility.

"Because he had the exposure last year, I think (coach) Mal (Meninga) will be keener to put him on earlier," he said.

Ashley Harrison, Ben Te'o and Nate Myles are also in contention for spots in the back row but Moore said they did not "have the same strings to their bow as Gillett".

"They're hard-working, honest players who hit the ball up and run good lines, but Matt's got the X-factor," he said.

"He's the sort of player who is just uncanny about putting himself in the right position at the right time and comes up with that big blockbusting tackle or a great offload."

Moore's Queensland forward pack would consist of David Shillington, Cameron Smith, Ben Hannant, Sam Thaiday, Myles and Harrison, with Josh McGuire, Te'o and Gillett on the bench.

Topics:  billy moore matt gillett nrl rugby league state of origin


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