‘Huge shock’: Footy star breaks down
BRISBANE Broncos star Matt Gillett's career is over after announcing his retirement in an emotional press conference on Thursday
Just 24 hours after reports Gillett had been forced to make the hard decision to walk away from the game, the man himself confirmed he has finally succumbed to his injuries.
Gillett has been forced into medical retirement as a result of a shoulder injury - allowing the club to apply for salary cap dispensation and wipe the rest of Gillett's three-year contract from their salary cap.
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The Broncos forward fought his way back onto the park this season following a broken neck suffered in 2018, but his shoulder problem means he will never be able to play again.
Gillett suffered the injury late in the season, and with Broncos players returning for pre-season training on Friday, Gillett has conceded he is not up to the physical demands of the game. He described his shoulder as "beyond repair".
A clearly emotional Gillett described the decision as a "huge shock" to both him and his family, and revealed he has spent the past month weighing up whether to continue playing.
He broke down in tears as he thanked his family for their support over what's been a stellar career, joking he wasn't expecting the waterworks to come but he couldn't stop them as the enormity of his decision became evident.
"The shoulder is beyond repair. I've decided to take the medical advice from the experts and call time on my career," Gillett said.
"This has been a huge shock to me and my family, and we have taken time over recent weeks to consider what we should do.
"The medical staff said if it was my son I wouldn't let him play on and that hit a chord with me.
"It's the last thing I wanted to do, give the game away because of injury. I have to do what's best for myself, health and family.
"I have plenty to be thankful for - I have been part of a great club here at the Broncos for my whole career. I've played for my state and for my country with some legends of the game.
"While today is really hard, I know that I can look back over my career and be thankful for what I've been able to achieve and the friends I have made over the journey. I'd like to thank my teammates, coaches, family and friends for all their help and support over the years."
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold paid tribute to Gillett, saying: "We'll miss him, he's a special boy."
Matt Gillett would have been a really good captain for this team. He will never be as appreciated as he should be. He’s been struggling with a shoulder injury for months but in typical fashion didn’t want anyone to know or make a fuss. Been great to media and fans for a decade.— Chris Garry (@ChrisGarry7) October 30, 2019
The 31-year-old is contracted until the end of the 2022 season and his forced retirement could have a big impact on the Broncos' salary cap.
Broncos legend and club director Darren Lockyer on Wednesday declared publicly he hoped Gillett was able to play on in 2020 - but his prayer wasn't to be answered.
Gillett this year successfully returned from a broken neck to regain Queensland selection but finished the season troubled by a lingering shoulder complaint.
He also missed the 2019 State of Origin decider with a knee injury and was later sidelined with a back complaint before picking up his shoulder niggle at the end of the season.
He battled on to play his 200th NRL game - Brisbane's disastrous 58-0 elimination final loss to Parramatta - which turned out to be his last.
Gillett represented Queensland 20 times in State of Origin and pulled on the Kangaroos jumper a dozen times in a decorated career.