Gillett can lead Maroons, says Smith

Super Freak

Super Freak

International Captain
Forum Staff
Jan 25, 2014
CAMERON Smith has outlined his leadership succession plan for the Maroons, saying Matt Gillett has the ability to replace him as Queensland captain.

As Smith and Gillett prepare to clash in Thursday night’s Brisbane-Storm blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium, the Maroons skipper believes the in-form Bronco can be the solution to Queensland’s impending leadership void.

Just a week ago former Maroons skipper Gorden Tallis captured Gillett’s remarkable development in the past 12 months by labelling him the best forward in world rugby league.

Now Smith sees leadership qualities in Gillett, who made his first serious statement as an Origin player with his man-of-the-match performance in Game One at ANZ Stadium.

The Broncos and Queensland are increasingly facing a leadership conundrum. While Corey Parker will walk away from Red Hill at season’s end, the Maroons will farewell the likes of Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Nate Myles and Parker over the next two years.

Smith has previously spruiked the leadership potential of Daly Cherry-Evans, but with the Manly ace fighting to reclaim his Origin spurs, the Storm ace says Gillett is captaincy material.

“I could name a handful of captains but for me, I think Matt Gillett needs to be a good candidate for the (Queensland) job,” said Smith, who is expected to lead Queensland until the end of 2018.

“It’s a hard one, because there’s going to be a few of us all going out one after the other.

“Gillo has come on in leaps and bounds over the past two seasons. He was man-of-the-match in Origin I, he was great again in Game Two and he is playing some exceptional football at the Broncos.

“I can just see that leadership quality in him from the way he is playing at the Broncos and his consistency there.

“He has been fantastic. Some guys play a few years of first grade and they just do what they need to do to stay in the NRL.

“But one day something just clicks in their heads and they go to the next level and Matt Gillett has done that this season.

“We’ve got a lot of good young leaders coming through in the Queensland team. It’s hard to single one guy out right now but Gillo is certainly a guy who could do the job.”

Smith’s endorsement was echoed on Wednesday by Queensland coach Kevin Walters, who views Gillett at the vanguard of the Maroons’ next generation of leaders.

Walters concedes that, on the surface, Gillett does not strike you as a captaincy standout. Quietly-spoken by nature, Gillett is not one for hyperbole and Churchillian speeches. But Walters says his shy exterior masks a fierce competitor within.

“He is one of those guys with a quiet but deadly personality,” the Maroons coach says.

“Gillo certainly has more in him as a player.

“He doesn’t want to let anyone down, he does everything to get himself right to play, we are just scratching the surface as far as his playing ability goes.

“There is more in him for sure. As good as he’s playing, I also see him developing that leadership material.”

Brisbane’s attitude towards defence has become more ruthless under coach Wayne Bennett and Gillett is the big winner, improving his missed-tackle count by a whopping 25 per cent.

Two years ago, Gillett was statistically Brisbane’s worst defender, missing 63 tackles from 21 matches. This season, he has missed 32 tackles and amassed 487 from 13 games at an average of 37.4.

“Defensively at the Broncos we have changed how we are doing things and it’s helped me a lot,” Gillett said.

“We have come up with different structures. I used to miss a fair few tackles, but I’ve come a long way in that area and it’s helped me become a better player overall.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable now in Origin but you feel like you do belong,” added Gillett, who is now in his fifth Origin campaign after his debut in 2012.

“It’s great to be starting but it’s important to focus and not change too much to what I’ve been doing at club level for the Broncos.

“To get that (man-of-the-match in Game One) gave me a lot of confidence that I could perform at rep level.”

Storm schemer Smith will get a close-up view of Gillett’s transformation on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos are desperate to hit back after their 40-14 loss Bulldogs last week and retiring Brisbane skipper Parker praised Gillett’s evolution.

“To sum Matt up in one word, he’s a footballer,” Parker said. “He is an instinctive footballer, if you give him too much structure and direction and you probably lose him. You just tell him to go out there and play footy and that’s when he plays best.

“At the moment, he does his inspiration via actions. In terms of leadership and where he wants to go in that realm, captaining Queensland is absolutely within his grasp.”

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Didn't Smith also annoint DCE as the next Qld captain?
I don't recall Smith saying DCE is a future Maroons captain. I remember reports that Smith said he is a future Kangaroos captain, but I haven't found any quotes from Smith saying that. Just reports from the media.
It was just after he was dropped from the Maroons. Part of me thinks Smith just felt sorry for him and said it to make him feel better.
Andrew Johns made a very interesting observation about Gillett in last nights game. When the Storm scored their 4th try (I think) Johns observed that Gillett gave up on tackling Blair which was impossible to see in fast mode. He said if he wants a leadership role he must try harder and must never presume someone was going to score.
That's nit-picking to the extreme from Johns.

Gillett had just made a cover tackle on Koroibete (a tackle he shouldn't have been asked to make by the way, good going Michael Wise) and was caught flat footed since Hunt failed to make the tackle on Green. Blair was well and truly on his outside, had Gillett committed to the tackle, he would have driven him over the top.

That's the doom and gloom stuff that quite frankly isn't true about the team.

The Broncos had a guy play on with a busted shoulder, knowing full well he just had to suck it up for the team. People are looking for answers in strange places.

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