Gillett out for season as Bennett allays long-term fears
BRISBANE coach Wayne Bennett is confident Matt Gillett does not face any long-term health concerns after the Test forward was ruled out for the rest of the NRL season with a neck fracture.
Gillett had been hopeful of returning ahead of the NRL finals after suffering the break in their opening-round loss to St George Illawarra.
Remarkably the Queensland back-rower played another four games before the injury was diagnosed.
Bennett admitted Gillett had been close to a comeback but medical staff opted for a complete rest after receiving the latest neck scan results.
However, the Brisbane mentor said there were no long-term worries for Gillett, who last week re-signed for another four seasons with the NRL club.
"The doctors are erring on the side of caution. The opinion was it is probably best to wait until next year to play again and we are happy with that," Bennett said.
"It's all progressing well. There's no suggestion of any long-term risk."
Bennett wasn't kicking stones over the scan results after young guns Tevita Pangai, Joe Ofahengaue, David Fifita and Jaydn Su'A lifted the pack in Gillett's absence this year.
"We've lost him for most of the season so it's not as big an impact as it normally would be and other guys have handled that position well," Bennett said.
Broncos high performance boss Jeremy Hickmans said Gillett was on the right track.
"In Matt's latest scan there has been a lot of improvement and he was very close to being cleared," he told the Broncos website.
"But the club and Matt agree it is the right thing to take the cautious approach … (to) ensure an absolute minimum risk when he returns next year.
"In reality, Matt would have been unlikely to have been on the field before the finals."
Bennett cleared other injury concerns Pangai (hamstring/ankle) and Kotoni Staggs (knee) to ensure an unchanged 17 for the Bulldogs clash.
Brisbane have won seven of their last nine to move to seventh and remain on track for a top four finish.
But Bennett described the clash with the 13th-placed Dogs as a "danger game".
"Yeah I do. Our worst performances this year have been against teams outside the top eight, that's why it is a danger game," he said.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast prop Morgan Boyle has undergone shoulder surgery which has brought a premature end to his NRL season.
With the Titans out of finals contention, the 22-year-old prop went under the knife on Tuesday, having managed the injury after dislocating his shoulder in the pre-season.
"Morgan's had the shoulder concern over the last three or four weeks and it's time to get it done so he's ready for the pre-season. He's played for a lot of time with a lot of pain," Titans medical co-ordinator Craig Catterick said.