Matt Gillett is preparing for a massive game. Photo: Adam Head
Matt Gillett is preparing for a massive game. Photo: Adam Head

Broncos bank on experience to cover Pangai loss

the Broncos are confident Matt Gillett's brains will overcome the loss of Tevita Pangai Jr's brawn as they aim to bring down ladder leaders Melbourne on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Pangai Jr has taken an early guilty plea for a careless high tackle charge he received for a high shot on Titans winger Phillip Sami last weekend and faces a week-long suspension as a result.

Broncos veteran Gillett will make his timely return to the side this week after sitting on the sideline with a groin injury and lower back complaint since Origin III camp earlier this month.

Gillett is expected to be named in the starting side in place of Pangai Jr while Thomas Flegler returns from suspension.

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Brisbane are expecting a fired up Storm side after they went down to Manly 11-10 at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday night.

It shapes as one of the biggest clashes of the competition this year as the Broncos fight to remain in the top eight while Melbourne aim to make it seven-in-a-row against Brisbane.

Forwards enforcer Matt Lodge said the loss of Pangai Jr was a big blow for the team but was confident Gillett could fill the gap.

 

There’s no hiding from the fact Pangai is a huge loss. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
There’s no hiding from the fact Pangai is a huge loss. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

 

"I probably think a sin bin and a penalty would give the other team an advantage but to miss a game doesn't help us," Lodge said.

"He's a big loss but we get Matt Gillett and Tom Flegler back so it's good to have a bit of depth there in the forwards.

"We'll get Tevita back against the Cowboys.

"It's a big game (this week). (The Storm) are on the top of the ladder for a reason.

"They'll obviously be fired up. They usually turn up here at Suncorp so we'll just have to match the intensity."

Winger Corey Oates said the Broncos were banking on Gillett's experience to slow down the rampaging Melbourne middle forwards.

"If you look at who we're bringing in, Gillo, I think it's not a bad sub," Oates said.

"Gillo has had a few weeks off now so he should be fresh and ready to go.

"Hopefully all of the niggles are gone. I'm really confident Gillo's going to come back and play a great game.

"He's just full of experience and full of energy."

 

Oates knows how big an ask this will be for Brisbane. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England
Oates knows how big an ask this will be for Brisbane. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

 

The star winger described Friday night's clash as a massive one for the club as they look to hold on to a top eight spot leading into the finals.

"We've been trying to find form to get into the top eight so I think we've been doing a good job building each week and trying to start better," he said.

"This week is massive for us. They're the benchmark for the game at the moment.

"They're just so consistent. They're the team to beat. We have to play the best game of the year as a team."

News Corp Australia


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