Gillett confident of NRL round one return
Brisbane Broncos player Matt Gillett speaks to the media after a team training session in Red Hill, Brisbane, Thursday, November 8, 2018. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Brisbane backrower Matt Gillett is confident he'll make a round one return from injury next year with coach Wayne Bennett still at the helm.
Sidelined since April, the Test second-rower took a step towards an NRL season-opening return from a neck fracture and shoulder reconstruction when he returned to pre-season training.
Gillett hurt his neck in this year's season opener but medical staff only discovered the break after Brisbane's round five clash with Newcastle.
He later opted for surgery on an ongoing shoulder issue while sidelined.
The 30-year-old needs a final scan to be cleared of the neck fracture but says his pre-season priority is getting his shoulder right after undergoing a reconstruction in August.
The Queensland forward will start contact work on his recovering shoulder after Christmas.
"I will be right for the season opener. I just need the final tick with the final (neck) scan but it was healed by the end of the season. I just need to get my shoulder right," Gillett said.
"(The neck injury) was scary, having kids and family and a life after footy to think about.
"There were bad thoughts but I did get to spend a lot of time with my family this year. Hopefully a year off can extend my career a few years."
While Bennett was away on Thursday for England's Test series with New Zealand, Gillett expected the master coach to return to the Broncos for the 2019 season despite speculation of an early swap with South Sydney's Anthony Seibold.
Bennett has signed to take over the Rabbitohs from 2020, when Siebold is due at Brisbane but it's believed a switch could be brought forward to next season if all parties agree.
"Wayne has reassured us he will be here next year. But it is important as a playing group that we stay tight no matter who is coaching at the top," Gillett said.
"It will be sad to see Wayne go. He has made the club what it is today.
"But this stuff happens a lot in the footy world. We have to get on with life.
"You obviously want that sorted out as soon as you can but if we have a strong playing group that will take care of itself."
© AAP 2018