Broncos second-rower Matt Gillett.

Big minutes the goal for Gillett

Brisbane second-row forward Matt Gillett wants to be the Broncos' 80-minute man in 2017, and he says there is no better test of his match fitness than an Origin-like clash against the North Queensland Cowboys on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium. 

In good news for his NRL Fantasy owners, Gillett will again play 80 minutes in Round 2 after a strong performance in Round 1 against the Sharks.

After the early loss of New Zealand international Alex Glenn to concussion, Gillett took it upon himself to lift his side, playing the full match against a strong Cronulla-Sutherland forward pack.  

The 28-year-old ran for 169 metres and made 36 tackles in that clash, putting in a man-of-the-match performance that helped his side to a 26-18 win. 

This won't be a one-off performance by the Australian international who is planning to make 2017 his most consistent year yet, after playing the full 80 15 times in 21 games last season.

"Playing 80 minutes each week is the goal for me. I got through 80 minutes in Round 1 and that was pretty tough," Gillett said.  

"Friday night will be another big task that will need a huge effort from the team. 

"Playing 80 minutes against the Cowboys is going to be a great test because they are always fast games.

"Hopefully I can get through the 80 and continue to improve my match fitness. 

"We have Alex and Jai [Arrow] on the bench if it becomes too much and the body starts to fatigue, but I'm hoping I'll be out there for the whole match."

 

 
Another who has upped their production rate is Brisbane lock Josh McGuire. 

New to the position in 2017, McGuire was impressive in Round 1, playing 68 minutes and running for 162 metres. 

It was a big jump in workload for McGuire who only averaged 58 minutes of game time while playing in the front row in 2016. 

For Gillett, this increase in minutes was the most impressive aspect of McGuire's Round 1 performance. 

"Josh has fit in at lock quite well. He's playing a lot more minutes so that will help us out a lot," he said.  

"He did a great job in Round 1 and I believe that's the standard he will set for himself each week.

"If he continues to do that job well throughout the year then it makes life a lot easier for Sam [Thaiday] and I out on the edges, especially if I'm playing 80 minutes."