'He rocked me': Gilly's tackling session with QLD women
Jillaroos star Annette Brander received a brutal introduction to training with Trevor Gillmeister when the Queensland great almost knocked her out while demonstrating tackling technique during a session ahead of next week's inaugural women's State of Origin.
Despite being on the coaching staff for the Maroons team beaten 22-12 by NSW last Wednesday night, Gillmeister has been a regular at training sessions for the Queensland women's team.
He and Allan Langer will help coach Jason Hetherington at North Sydney Oval on June 22.
Brander said the former Queensland captain, nicknamed "the Axe", had already made an impact after asking her to volunteer for a demonstration on tackling.
"I had never actually met Trevor or Jason before, and I think Trevor was leading the session," she said.
"We were doing a bit of contact and some girls had trials that day so we were supposed to be going a bit lighter.
"We had the pads on, which don't really make you feel very secure anyway, and Trevor said he could demonstrate on me. I said OK, not really expecting it, and he just went full force. He rocked me. Apparently, the look on my face was priceless because I did not expect it."
That wasn't the end of the lesson for Brander, who considers herself a second rower but played centre for Australia during last year's World Cup triumph.
The players then paired up to work on front-on tackling and Brander was partnered with Jillaroos hooker Brittany Breayley, who last week signed with the Broncos for this year's Holden NRL Women's Premiership.
"Gilly came over and watched us, and he just said 'maybe you could get a bit lower and really use your legs'. Then he said, 'I'll show you'," Brander said.
"At this point I didn't have a pad on anymore so we had a little bit of a walk towards each other and he got his shoulder right up into my ribs, and actually winded me.
"He was like, 'did you feel that. Good, because you actually have to feel it to be able to do it. Now you will be able to do it so much better when you go back and tackle Britto', and I was. But I was still a bit winded."
The 25-year-old, who has been a regular member of the Jillaroos squad since 2014, said Queensland players appreciated the support of Gillmeister and other members of the Maroons Origin staff, including coach Kevin Walters, who plans to attend the women's match.
"A lot of us have learned a lot just from having him in our camp," Brander said of Gillmeister.
"He is really interactive and is giving up his own time....and all the girls feel comfortable around him.
"It is really good to see that he is passionate about the women's game as well."