FORMER Maroons coach and Australian halfback Mark Murray has applauded the selection of former Sunshine Coast player Matt Gillett in the Queensland side.
Gillett was picked on an extended bench to take on New South Wales in game one in Sydney on Wednesday, June 5.
Murray, who was instrumental in helping Gillett secure a contract with the Broncos in 2010, said the back-rower had the x-factor required to turn a game on its head.
"Origin football is such a fast-paced game and the intensity of the game requires tremendous defence that only the special players can compete with," he said.
"There are very few scoring opportunities in a match and only the special players can produce something to break the game up with a freakish offload or kick, and Matt is one of those players.
"He's an outstanding player and can turn a game and will be invaluable to Queensland."
Debuting in Origin one last year, Gillett went on to play in all three games and was used as a strike utility player from the bench.
Injected at critical stages of each match to provide some spark, Murray said last year's Origin experience would greatly benefit Gillett.
"He was there last year and did a good job and is now in his fourth season of NRL football," he said.
"He'll be better prepared this year and I expect him to show all those skills that set him apart from your average back-rower.
"The differences in his game compared to the other second-rowers will comp
lement his fellow teammates."
Murray, the current Norths Devils CEO who was in charge during Gillett's time at the club, said he always knew the 2010 Dally M Rookie of the Year would play representative football.
"HE was awarded player of the year two years running when he was with us, and being a feeder club to the Broncos, I got in touch with them and recommended him," he said.
"He's done everything that's been asked of him I'm looking forward to watching him in this year's Origin series."
Murray played 15 games for Queensland from 1981-1986.
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