Injured star Matt Gillett trained by himself on Tuesday. Picture: Jono Searle
Injured star Matt Gillett trained by himself on Tuesday. Picture: Jono Searle

Broncos blow as Gillett’s nightmare continues

QUEENSLAND Origin star Matt Gillett's injury nightmare has continued with Brisbane's No.1 back-rower set to miss Thursday night's crucial derby showdown with the Cowboys in Townsville.

The Broncos were sweating on Gillett's return for the NRL's greatest rivalry but the Maroons ace is at long odds to face North Queensland after failing to train with the side on Tuesday at Red Hill.

While Brisbane's top-liners endured a tough 90-minute session, Gillett was a passenger, restricted to light duties away from the main squad as he continues undergoing treatment for a niggling back injury.

It caps a frustrating period for Gillett, who missed the Origin decider last month with a groin injury before sustaining a fresh setback when he tweaked his lower back while training in the gym.

Gillett hasn't played for the Broncos since their round 15 loss to the Knights in Newcastle on June 29.

Gillett's right-edge reliability and defensive reads were sorely missed by the Broncos last Friday night as ladder leaders Melbourne carved up Brisbane on the fringes to dish out a 40-4 drubbing at Suncorp Stadium.

Veteran teammate Alex Glenn admits Gillett's likely scratching is a blow the Broncos can do without as 10th-placed Brisbane desperately eye victory against the Cowboys to keep their finals hopes alive.

Gillett’s frustrating injury continues to linger. Picture: Joel Carrett
Gillett’s frustrating injury continues to linger. Picture: Joel Carrett

"The fact 'Gillo' didn't train today, I don't think we're likely to see him this week but hopefully it's good signs for next week," Glenn said.

"Gillo has been a big loss for our right edge.

"Look at what happened to our edge on the weekend against the Storm, they capitalised on it and found out Davey (David Fifita).

"Dave is a great player but when it comes to defence, it's a crucial role where Gillo's experience really helps the other guys.

"I feel for him. When you get injuries it's very tough but to miss the whole season last year and only playing a handful of games this year would be frustrating.

"I know he is doing every single thing to get back on the field.

Young star David Fifita had a tough night against Melbourne. Picture: Bradley Kanaris
Young star David Fifita had a tough night against Melbourne. Picture: Bradley Kanaris

"We've been missing him on the right edge so hopefully we get him back soon."

While the Cowboys are languishing in 13th place with their finals hopes in tatters, the Broncos have a dismal record on North Queensland soil.

Brisbane have won just two of their last 10 contests in Townsville dating back to 2012, including the crushing 26-20 extra-time finals loss three years ago which sent the Broncos crashing out of the title race.

Glenn is wary of a Cowboys team which would relish heaping more misery on the Broncos following their capitulation against the Storm.

"It was heartbreaking (to be thrashed by Melbourne) but our season is still alive," he said.

"We are just out of the eight and we still have a lot to play for.

Alex Glenn will shift back to the centres. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Alex Glenn will shift back to the centres. (AAP Image/Darren England) DARREN ENGLAND

"It was shattering and a hard pill to swallow losing like that, but we have to take some tough lessons and learn from where we went wrong that night.

"Melbourne is sitting at the top for a reason, they have set the standard high and we have to match that and learn.

"I said to the boys after the game, with the Cowboys, it doesn't matter where both teams are sitting, when it becomes the Queensland derby it becomes a different ball game.

"It's always a big game for both teams and it's one that goes down to the wire. You need to be playing dominant football for 80 minutes. We know we are in for a big game this weekend."

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