Brisbane’s silver lining to Gillett exit
The Broncos will lobby the NRL for a $2 million salary cap exemption that will help keep David Fifita in Brisbane and lure Brodie Croft from Melbourne following the shock retirement of warhorse forward Matt Gillett.
Gillett closed the curtains on a stellar NRL career on Thursday, after succumbing to a serious shoulder injury.
The 31-year-old broke down in tears announcing his immediate retirement at Brisbane's Red Hill headquarters, having played 200 games for the Broncos over 10 seasons.
At 31 and with three years remaining on his contract, Gillett never envisaged quitting the game in these circumstances and his emotional state was that of a man devastated about never playing again.
But his departure has the potential to deliver the Broncos a huge salary cap windfall if the NRL determines Gillett qualifies for a medically-forced retirement.
On a deal around $700,000 annually, the Broncos will benefit immensely if Gillett's salary, or part thereof, is not included in the club's salary cap for the next three seasons.
The money would help the Broncos retain the NRL's hottest property - teen sensation Fifita - and secure unwanted Storm halfback Croft for the 2020 season.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is searching for a way to freshen up his roster following Brisbane's humiliating 58-0 finals loss to Parramatta.
But at present the Broncos' salary cap and roster is full, a situation that will change pending the Gillett assessment and whether the club can release an unwanted player.
Seibold was cagey when asked about the salary cap ramifications for Brisbane following Gillett's retirement.
"Obviously, Alex Glenn and Kotoni Staggs haven't signed yet, but we are a long way down the line," he said.
"Corey Oates was announced earlier in the week. I think we just want to digest where we're at with the roster.
"Ultimately, we need to make sure we're respectful to today and today is about Gillo."
While Seibold was reluctant to discuss the salary cap situation, it will have a major bearing on his playing roster next year.
Croft looms as a potential signing after Seibold met with the Junior Kangaroos halfback to discuss the possibility of him joining Brisbane.
Croft is contracted to the Storm for a further two seasons, however Melbourne is open to releasing him on the proviso it does not cost them financially.
The Broncos have a promising young halfback in Tom Dearden on their books, but were brutally exposed in the position throughout 2019.
The form of $1 million playmaker Anthony Milford is also a major headache for Seibold given he must find a way to extract the best out of Brisbane's highest-paid player.
The Broncos will secure Glenn's signature on a two-year extension in the coming days while some of the club's younger brigade will report for pre-season training on Friday.
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