Gillett hints at Bennett deflection tactics
Australian Kangaroos second-row forward Matt Gillett believes England's squad will not be paying any attention to their coach Wayne Bennett's comments in the lead-up to Saturday night's Rugby League World Cup final.
Bennett has given his English side virtually no chance of beating rugby league's No.1 ranked nation, telling media that England "probably" would not be lifting the trophy at the completion of the tournament.
But Gillett has seen and heard it all before, losing count of how many times Bennett had used the same tactic at the Brisbane Broncos.
One of Bennett's favourite sons at the Broncos, Gillett said he and his Brisbane playing group had learned not to listen to Bennett's mind games with the media, instead turning their attention to what he had to say behind closed doors.
Gillett must be expecting a similar approach from England's players, with the 29-year-old scoffing at suggestions that the English team would believe they are no chance come Saturday.
"No, surely not," Gillett said when asked whether England would buy into Bennett's comments.
"They understand what Wayne says [and why he says it]. He will probably say something different behind closed doors. That's the way Wayne's done it his whole career. He plays those little games and they are all part of rugby league.
"It's probably a bit of mind games. Anyone on their day can pull off a win. They will prepare well and worry what they have to do.
"He's not out there playing. I know he's the coach but we're out there physically and his players are out there playing.
"For myself, I just have to worry about what I can do better to get that result on Saturday night."
A World Cup victory would be a well-deserved reward for Gillett, who took home the Dally M second-rower of the year award after an outstanding 2017 season.
Unfortunately for Gillett, the Broncos' 2017 run was cut short in the preliminary finals by eventual champions Melbourne in a one-sided affair.
Brisbane's preparation for that match is very similar to how England are going about it this week, with Gillett explaining that Bennett does not like to change the routine of any side he coaches, no matter how big the occasion.
"Not too much changes with Wayne. He's been around that long that he doesn't try and coach any different to the start of the year. He's big on routine and doing what you do week in, week out, even if it's a bigger game," Gillett said.
"It's about sticking to what works for you as an individual. A lot of it has to do with off the field stuff that you do during the week. Making sure your preparation is right and that you're ready to go Saturday night."
This article first appeared on NRL.com