national news pageheaders

Gillett wants Origin nod more than ever

After missing State of Origin for the first time in seven years due to a serious neck injury in 2018, Brisbane's Matt Gillett is itching to reclaim his Queensland jersey.

The 30-year-old had made 18 successive appearances for the Maroons before being forced to sit out last year's series.

Gillett has battled back from the neck fracture that almost ended his career and a shoulder reconstruction to be an ever-present for the Broncos this NRL campaign.

Now he is eyeing off a return to the Maroons' back row when Kevin Walters names his team for this year's Origin opener next week.

"Obviously missing a lot of footy in that last year and missing representative games, that's something you want to be a part of," Gillett said on Tuesday.

"I've been playing well here and doing the right things here in club-land to get that opportunity.

"I still think I can do a job there, it's just a matter of getting picked and doing that role ... I'm wanting it probably more than I ever did."

Gillett's case for an Origin recall is boosted by the indifferent form of North Queensland pair Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess.

With Queensland desperate to add some experience to a line-up shorn of veterans such as Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith, Gillett will be pushing to replace Cooper in the back-row or possibly come onto the Maroons' bench for Hess.

Gillett admits he held some doubts about his body upon making his return to first grade but says his injury nightmare is now firmly behind him and he's physically and mentally ready for the rigours of Origin.

"The neck's been fine. It's been more getting the confidence back in my shoulder," he said.

"Just getting those whacks in the body and handling that side of things was my main concern.

"Now that we're up and running the shoulder's feeling really good and the neck's feeling fine. I don't think about it now."

© AAP 2019