Lockyer named RL Player of Year - again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer named RL Player of Year - again

By Adrian Warren 20/11/2006 10:42:54 PM Comments (0)

Australian captain Darren Lockyer has added individual glory to captaincy and team success by becoming only the second player to win the Golden Boot award for the International Rugby League Player of the Year.

The Australian, Queensland and Brisbane Broncos captain and five-eighth emulated his 2003 achievement and joined Australian halfback Andrew Johns (1999 and 2001) as the only dual winner of the code's most prestigious international individual award.

Lockyer, who also won the Back of the Year trophy, has already led Brisbane to an NRL title and Queensland to a State of Origin series victory over NSW in 2006.

Leading Australia to a Tri Nations final win over New Zealand in Sydney on the weekend would give him a treble of captaincy success at club, interstate and international level only previously achieved by one other Australian, halfback Allan Langer.

"At the start of the year, I probably could only dream of that (treble), now it's within reach," Lockyer said.

The fullback-turned-five-eighth rated it one of his best years as he silenced any remaining knockers over his transition to the pivot position.

"I think as a captain it's obviously been my best year, I finished off the year strongly as well," Lockyer said after receiving the Golden Boot at Sydney's Hilton Hotel.

Lockyer noted the list of previous winners of the Golden Boot included some of his idols as a schoolboy, including legendary Brisbane, Queensland and Kangaroos five-eighth Wally Lewis, who was among the guests at the awards ceremony.

"My fondest memories of those players are in the green and gold, watching them early in the morning on Kangaroo tours and they were true champions of the game, but Wally (Lewis) stood out for me," Lockyer said.

He felt Australia needed to step up a notch to beat New Zealand in Sydney this weekend but turned coy when asked which areas his team needed to improve in.

"There are small areas in our game, but I don't want to give too much of that away, obviously there's things we'd like to do better and we will be working hard this week to make sure we do that."

Australia has won all three of its tussles against New Zealand this year, but Lockyer felt the Kiwis' form had improved since their last narrow loss to the Kangaroos.

New Zealand and Great Britain were also among the award winners, with Brit skipper Jamie Peacock named the International Forward of the Year and Kiwi Brian McClennan taking out Coach of the Year.

Australian-born England-based Ashley Klein was named the International Referee of the Year.

Outstanding Australian back Greg Inglis took out the International Rugby League Newcomer of the Year.

There was some good news for Wes Naiqama, who took out the Developing Nations Player of the Year trophy.

Naiqama, who was pictured getting into a car and sitting in the vehicle's driver seat despite being suspended from driving until 2013, was not present to accept his award.

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