Pick Wallace for Kangaroos: Gillett
Brisbane Broncos second-row forward Matt Gillett believes former teammate Jarrod Wallace deserves selection in the Australian Kangaroos' squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Gillett and Wallace played together at the Broncos between 2012-2016 before Wallace moved to the Gold Coast Titans for season 2017.
The move has done wonders for Wallace who went from a bench forward on limited minutes at Red Hill to the Titans' most consistent prop in just one off-season.
The two teams will face off on Saturday night and Gillett has been keeping a close eye on the form of Wallace who made his Queensland Origin debut in Game Two of this year's series.
Wallace's selection for Queensland reunited the pair, with Gillett now a veteran of 17 Origin matches for the Maroons.
Impressed with what Wallace has offered at both club and representative level, Gillett said the workhorse front-rower would not look out of place wearing the green and gold when Australia play their first World Cup match against England on the 27th of October.
"It was a big move for him. Obviously I would have loved him to stay here and it was a big decision, but I'm sure it's one that he's pretty happy with," Gillett said.
"To go down there and fit in pretty well and play the footy he's playing is good to watch. I'm happy for him and the way he's held himself as a footy player on and off the field.
"There is [now an opportunity for him to make the Australian squad]. That's probably the reason he did move. To cement that starting spot and show what he can do.
"He's made his Queensland debut and if he continues to play the quality of football that he's been doing so far then there's no reason for him not to be in the mix for an Australian jersey or a spot in that squad."
Quizzed on what has made Wallace such a dependable player this year, Gillett said the 26-year-old's engine was behind his rise at the Titans.
"His motor [is his biggest strength]. He's playing through bigger minutes and getting through a lot of work," he said.
"He does get his hands on the ball a lot and he gets them on the front foot. The focus for us is slowing him down, as well as his front row partner Ryan James."
And Gillett is right to worry about the workload of Wallace.
Gold Coast's No.8 has averaged over 138 metres per game this year, with the Runaway Bay junior playing 57 minutes in the middle per match for a Gold Coast side often pinned back in their own territory.
A bright spot in what has been a disappointing season for the Titans, Wallace saved his best performance of the year for his former club when they met in Round 7.
That match was a night of season highs for Wallace who played 73 minutes and ran for an astonishing 264 metres as the Titans fell just short of an unlikely victory.
Broncos forward Sam Thaiday is wary of another standout performance from Wallace, saying he expects the bulky prop to dig even deeper this time around.
"Jarrod Wallace [will lead their forwards]. He's going to want to try and prove a point playing against the Broncos with the year he's had so far. I'm sure that he'll be right there putting his hand up to lead that forward pack," Thaiday said.
"I think last time he played us he ran for over 200 metres so he'll be wanting to do that again and really prove the point that maybe we shouldn't have let him go."