BRIBIE Island revelation Jack Reed is intent on holding the fort at the Brisbane Broncos in the absence of up to 11 front-line players.
With five of his teammates selected for Queensland’s State of Origin campaign and with a handful of Broncos still in the casualty ward, Brisbane’s roster will be sorely tested during the next two months.
But first-year rookie Reed, 22, has welcomed the challenge.
“We’re going to have a few big-name players out, so it’s a good chance for us younger fellows to step up and really show what we’re made of and to show the depth of the club,” the determined centre said.
“I think we’ll just try to be strong like we were in the first few rounds defensively and hopefully don’t embarrass the club in any sense that way,” he said.
Reed agreed the Broncos deserved to be rewarded with several State of Origin call-ups following the team’s strong start to the season.
“We’re over the moon with our rep players and we’re looking forward to watching them play,” he said.
“Jharal (Yow Yeh) has been playing some great football and he deserves to be playing there and all the old heads are going to step up again. Corey (Parker) is playing some great football at the moment.”
Reed believed fellow Bribie Island product Matt Gillett, 22, would have definitely been in the mix for Queensland selection if he was fit.
“Gillo was in that emerging Origin squad that (Queensland coach) Mal Meninga picked and had been playing good football,” Reed said of the injured Gillett, who was NRL rookie of the year last season.
There are a host of back-rowers who could slot into the Queensland engine room, including Parker, Sam Thaiday, Dallas Johnson, David Stagg, Nate Myles and Ashley Harrison, but Reed reckons Gillett would have to be considered.
“He’s one of the best footy players floating around,” he said.
“There’s some great players floating around in the back-row for Queensland but Gillo’s one of the great up-and-comers and definitely would’ve been in the mix I think.”
After injuring his foot in round seven, Gillett is expected to return for the round-15 blockbuster against the Dragons after State of Origin II.
“He’s upbeat considering what’s going on,” Reed said.
“It’s been tough at rehab. We’re just looking forward to him getting back on the pitch and playing some good footy again.”
Reed has been mooted by some as a future State of Origin player, despite having played only nine games in the NRL.
But for now he is steeling himself to play well for the Broncos in possible Origin-affected games against Manly (away), Sharks (away), Raiders (home), Dragons (home), Rabbitohs (away) and Eels (away).
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