Broncos back-rower Matt Gillett has spoken out about the pain of missing Australia's World Cup triumph, insisting it will drive him to reach even greater heights in 2014.
Gillett was named 18th man for the mid-year Test against New Zealand in 2012 but hasn't sighted the green and gold since despite playing in all six Origins for Queensland over the past two seasons.
Having come so close to representing his nation and being named in the Kangaroos' train-on squad this year, Gillett conceded that there have been mixed emotions watching the six-week tournament but believes if he is given the opportunity he would step up to the rigours of Test football.
"I thought the year went pretty well for myself but pretty disappointed not to get a look-in for that World Cup side... That just drives you to be better next year," Gillett told NRL.com.
"I just have to focus on doing my job here at the Broncos and if the opportunity comes to wear that green and gold [jersey] I'll be ready for it. Bit disappointed in the end but the side over there has done a great job."
Although he had a 12-month jump on him in the Origin arena, Gillett now appears to be behind Canberra powerhouse Josh Papalii in the pecking order.
Papalii was something of a shock addition to the Queensland Origin side for Game Two of this year's series and has established himself during the World Cup campaign as one of the Kangaroos' strike weapons off the bench. He had a hand in the first of Brett Morris's two tries in the final and scored tries both times Australia played Fiji during the tournament, winning plenty of admirers with the ferociousness of his play – including Gillett.
"Joshy has come a long way," Gillett admitted. "He's a big, powerful second-rower and very hard to stop. He has had a great season down there at Canberra and he deserves everything he's got this year, playing Origin and now playing for Australia.
"I'm very, very happy for Josh, the way he's played footy this year and over on the tour he's done really well so full credit to him. He's a great kid and a very, very humble kid."
While Gillett's development continued its steep upward trend having been promoted to the starting side for the Broncos, 2013 was statistically the worst performance by a Brisbane team in the club's history.
Both the Cowboys and Titans finished head of the Broncos on the competition table and Gillett admitted that there is a burning desire to reassert themselves as one of the premier teams of the competition.
"Obviously the Cowboys got there and the Titans weren't too far off so it was disappointing not to be in the finals. We definitely want to be back up there and be the No.1 Queensland team," Gillett said.
"We've got a lot of work to do in this off-season and getting it right in the pre-season."
Having been used predominantly on the right edge since making his debut in 2010, Gillett spent half of last season out on the left and enjoyed the switch. With Ben Barba's skills to be incorporated into the Brisbane attack, 25-year-old Gillett is excited to see what the former Dally M Medal winner brings to the side, whichever side he pops up on.
"Benny's just a bit of a freak and definitely a talented player and if he does play out there in that fullback position he can put a little kick in, a cut-out pass or just run and do it all himself," Gillett said.
"Everyone has seen what he can do so I can't wait to get out there and play alongside him and watch him go."