Broncos welcome Fensom, Gillett return

Laine Clark
Shaun Fensom has signed for Brisbane after leaving North Queensland

The arrival of ex-North Queensland hard man Shaun Fensom has been welcomed by a depleted Brisbane pack ahead of the 2019 NRL season.

Fensom, 30, added instant depth to the Broncos forward stocks when he ran out for the club's pre-season training return on Monday after inking a one-year deal.

The 174-game veteran was a welcome sight as the Broncos began life without forwards Sam Thaiday (retirement), Josh McGuire (Cowboys) and Korbin Sims (St George Illawarra).

Of even more comfort to the Broncos was the presence of Test back-rower Matt Gillett who finally returned to training after an injury-ravaged 2018.

Brisbane desperately missed the Queensland enforcer's defensive starch last season after his year was sabotaged by a neck fracture and then a shoulder reconstruction.

"It has been a long time on the sideline watching but I have been able to spend time with family and refresh the body," said Gillett, who backed himself to not only be fit for March's NRL season opener but also play a trial.

"In a way it has been perfect timing to get that rest for a year and hit the ground running this year - I am pretty eager to get back out there."

Gillett's 2018 season ended abruptly when it was revealed he fractured his neck in the opening round but played another four games before the serious injury was diagnosed.

He also underwent a shoulder reconstruction to treat an ongoing complaint.

"It might take a little bit to get myself back to the level I was playing at but nothing is going to change mentally for me with the way I play my football," he said.

Gillett looked forward to tightening up a Brisbane defence that conceded 500 points last year - the 11th worst in the league.

And he believed the arrival of Fensom would make that task easier.

"For us older blokes it is about teaching the younger boys what we got taught growing up," Gillett said of Fensom.