Matt Gillett admits to mixed feelings when he learned he’ll make his rugby league Test debut for Australia.
The 25-year-old Brisbane back-rower intends to savour every moment of Friday’s clash with New Zealand at Allianz Stadium after being rewarded for outstanding early season form.
But it was a bittersweet moment for Gillett when informed he would be called into the match squad to replace Broncos’ teammate Sam Thaiday, who was ruled out on Monday due to his calf muscle injury.
“I am pretty happy with the way things have worked out, but I am pretty disappointed for Sam,” said Gillett.
“He’s been battling for a couple of weeks to come back but obviously his calf is not right. So I think I owe Sammy something.
“I found out only this morning that I was playing after coming down as 18th man and straight on the phone to my wife and mum and dad. It was pretty emotional.
“They’re coming down on Friday and I can’t wait to run out in the green and gold in front of them.”
Sheens said he’d been hopeful Thaiday would be able to play but the decision to rule him out was taken after he struggled to come through a fitness test at Allianz Stadium on Monday morning.
“He did a little bit this morning and it tightened up a bit so we said no,” Sheens told AAP.
“Brisbane weren’t too sure if he would be right, but we had to make a call early in the week and Sam was happy with that.”
Sheens is yet to decide who will replace Thaiday in the starting line-up with interchange forward Boyd Cordner and Gillett both in contention to play.
“Both Boydy and Gillett are good players who have played State of Origin and both do a job if selected,” he said.
North Queensland back Brent Tate will jhoin the squad later in the week as the new 18th man.