Andrew McCullough - Front-Row Seat - PlayersVoice
Andrew McCullough - Front-Row Seat - PlayersVoice

Front-Row Seat

Episode Five: Matt Gillett

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Episode Five: Matt Gillett

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Brisbane Broncos backrower Matt Gillett played four games with a broken neck this season. On Front-Row Seat with Andrew McCullough, Gillett talks about avoiding the “worst-case scenario”, a message of support from Gold Coast hooker Nathan Peats and when he hopes to make his return.

 

1:15: Getting this spot here happened a bit earlier than we thought. Obviously kids were in the plan but that came a bit earlier than we thought …

 

1:57: We didn’t have a TV for two weeks I think it was. Even for Skye and me, we’re big Home and Away fans, it got a bit boring in the late afternoons and night times!

 

2:50: I noticed as soon as I had Harper, four years ago now, whether you play a good game or have a bad day at training, you’re not playing too well and your forms not up or whatever. You come home and you’re still a father. They don’t know any better …

 

3:53: I’ve got a lot of spare time on my hands. I’m not training too much and I can go watch my little daughter do ballet, watch the kids do swimming, stuff that that most parents don’t get to do…

 

4:28: I got caught awkwardly and thought, as you do as footy players, that it’s just a little knock …

 

6:05: Playing four games with it, looking back, every sort of tackle didn’t feel right…

 

6:55: I didn’t sort of realise until I suppose yourself and JD came up to me at the airport and asked me the question, “Is your neck alright?”. I said to you, “Yeah it’s playing on my mind a bit” …

 

8:40: I didn’t get the scans until after the Newcastle game. They pretty much said to me the first week when I did it, that if I have a bit of movement without any pain you’ll be right, we don’t need to scan you. Looking back there was a bit of pain but I probably just said, “She’ll be right” …  

 

10:50: Skye was telling me she felt sick … I was probably a bit relieved to know what was actually going on …

 

12:00: I was thinking about worst-case scenario. Just having the kids was the biggest thing, thinking what could have been. I could have done more damage and been in a wheelchair or not been able to move my arms or something …

 

13:33: It’s harder now. It’s only been three weeks and four games that I’ve had to sit on the sidelines and be a supporter … It’s not real fun …

 

14:56: I don’t know how players like Darren and Petero did it for so many years. It definitely takes a toll on your body …

 

16:51: This will be a good freshen up for me. Hopefully I’ll come back at the end of the year and we’ll be in good shape heading into the finals … Fingers crossed it’s good news at eight weeks which I’ll be pretty stoked with. But if they say it’s good, 100 per cent there, I’ll probably give myself another couple of weeks I’d say …

 

18:27: I had a lot of messages. Not only footy players but also people with similar injuries or in wheelchairs … Nathan Peats was one. I think he had a fusion between c4 and c3 in his neck, or something like that. He gave me a message and put his number on there and said, ‘if you ever need anything or need to know anything later down the track, give me a call’ …  

 

20:54: We’ve got a lot of support out there that we can lean on; players from other clubs that have gone through the same situation. A lot of people don’t see that … On the field we are enemies but off the field we’re there to look after each other …

 

21:45: Getting into the late teens, early twenties, I was enjoying playing footy with my mates, enjoying a beer and that sort of culture around rugby league teams … A year out from making my NRL debut I still wasn’t 100 per cent about my footy … I didn’t want to do that hard work …

 

23:25: I was just enjoying footy. I didn’t know that anyone was watching. I didn’t know the coach of the Brisbane Broncos was watching …

 

25:50: I don’t take things too serious in life, as you know … I try and enjoy it and talk a lot of shit to people, the staff and everyone, it gets me through the day … Even at training if the coach brings us in and tells us what we’re doing I wouldn’t be able to repeat back to you what he said …

 

28:09: I’m not going to keep playing if I’m playing busted and the body’s not right and I’m not performing. I don’t want to be one of those boys that get shut out. I want to leave on my terms … I’m pretty keen to get into game development through the club …

 

30:05: Everyone always talks about how the money’s not the best up here … But you’ve got to think about the benefits after footy and where you’re happy …

 

Andrew McCullough is entering his 11th season with the Brisbane Broncos … and his first as a podcast host. Since suffering a season-ending ACL injury last year, McCullough has been reading books on sports psychology and leadership. His aim is to continue that learning process via the Front-Row Seat podcast, where he will sit down with some of the leading athletes in Australian sport to find out what makes them tick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

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