Matt Gillett says finals miss could cost country honours
BRISBANE forward Matt Gillett says missing next month's NRL finals could cost some of the club's stars, including himself, any hope of being selected to represent their country in the end-of-year Four Nations tournament.
Australia and New Zealand will co-host the fourth staging of the tournament which will also featuring the UK and Pacific Island champions Samoa who qualified earlier this year beating Fiji 32-16 to claim the final spot.
Gillett, who made his debut for Australia against New Zealand when his Broncos teammate Sam Thaiday pulled out of the Anzac Test, warned it would be tough for Brisbane's stars to win selection if they weren't involved in the NRL finals, especially after losing this year's State of Origin series to NSW.
Gillett, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and centre Justin Hodges, who all played in this year's Origin series, would be in contention for Tim Sheen's Kangaroos Four Nations squad for the month-long tournament from October through to the final at Wellington's Westpac Stadium..
Alex Glenn and Josh Hoffman are in the running for Kiwi selection, while centre Jack Reed would have to be in the thoughts of English selectors who used him in last year's tournament.
"You would think we have to be playing in the finals for any of our players to get a chance of playing in the Four Nations," the former Bribie Island Warrigals junior told APN.
"Our players are on the edge of that (selection) but we've got to be playing finals football to give ourselves the best chance of being there.
"Obviously we've got a few boys in line for New Zealand as well and Jack (Reed) for England, so I'm sure they're all looking to finish the season strongly."
Gillett said Brisbane started its finals with a 41-10 win over the physical Bulldogs last weekend and could build on the momentum tomorrow night against new premiership favourites South Sydney who flexed its muscle with a comprehensive win over competition leaders Manly.
"Souths are a big task for us tomorrow night but hopefully we can take that form down to Sydney and do the same again and give our halves Benny Hunt and Benny Barba the chance to do what they do," he said.
"When we played them up here we gave them a big start, got back in front, and they snatched it off us at the end."
Gillett said it would be a tough pill to swallow to miss the eight after dropping three to four games the team should have won earlier in the season.
"You do all the pre-season, do all the hard work, play all year to be in the finals, no player wants to be sitting home watching, thinking 'that should have been us'," he said.
"We probably haven't helped ourselves ny losing a lot of a close games but now all we can do it play what's in front of us and take it week by week."
A loss to the Souths, though, would put Brisbane's season on knife-edge, needing to win its last three games against Newcastle (home), St George-Illawarra (home) and its round 26 away clash with Melbourne Storm.
Despite training well this week, co-captain Justin Hodges has not been named in the Broncos team to face Souths tomorrow.
Brisbane has named an unchanged line-up after last week's big win over the Bulldogs.
Jarrod Wallace is the 18th man.