DEBBIE Gillett never doubted her son, Broncos star Matt Gillett, had the ability to play at the highest level - he just had to believe it himself.
Debbie and her husband Peter have watched their son's progression from a Bribie Island Warrigal junior to Broncos mainstay with great pride.
And with him on the cusp of playing for Australia after being named 18th man for Friday night's Test against New Zealand in Auckland, Debbie can now claim her belief in her son's ability was rooted in reality and not merely motherly love.
"I always believed it. I believed he could do it (play for Australia)," she said from Bribie Island yesterday.
"But it was getting … you know, him having the belief in himself," she added.
"He never used to think he was good enough."
The 23-year-old certainly does now, as evidenced by his pulsating performance in Friday night's 30-6 defeat of Canberra.
As Brisbane recorded its fifth straight win, the back-rower again showed that he has taken his game to another level this season.
His mixture of brute power and silky skill has won him more admirers, and etched his name into the minds of representative selectors.
Queensland State of Origin selectors may also recognise his elevated form, with him a strong chance to debut for the Maroons this season.
Debbie believes she can pinpoint the moment her boy began morphing from a wannabe with confidence issues to a big-time highlight reel.
She noticed a steely resolve had inhabited him following the death of his high school friend and former teammate, ex-Broncos junior Todd Parnell, from an early-morning "king hit" on Bribie Island in July 2009.
It was Parnell, she said, who convinced Gillett to sign with Norths in Brisbane.
"He just thought he was going to do it for Todd because Todd was always a get-up-and-go (person)," she said.
"And Todd used to say to Matt, 'You've got it. You've got it. Don't waste it'.
"So yeah, I think that's when he started to believe in himself, and he just went from strength to strength."
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