Lockyer wants a change to club challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer wants a change to club challenge

By Jim Morton 26/02/2007 07:59:33 PM Comments (0)

Darren Lockyer has questioned the scheduling of the World Club Challenge, believing the annual decider would be better staged a fortnight after the NRL grand final.

Lockyer made the comments after returning to Brisbane following the Broncos' 18-14 WCC loss to English champions St Helens in Bolton.

It was the sixth time in seven seasons the visiting NRL premiers have fallen to the Super League champions in the February play-off.

The timing, conditions and venue give the English a major advantage with the travelling Australians arriving cold after their off-season.

The Kangaroos and Brisbane skipper said he'd would prefer to see the game played in October - a fairer time as both sides should retain the same squads that took them to their domestic title.

"From the teams that played in the grand final last year, we are missing three players and they were missing a few," Lockyer said.

"And it was first game off the grass for us.

"The conditions suited them more than it did us and we had a lot of blokes who hadn't been there before."

While complimentary of the concept in general, Lockyer felt the event would be bolstered immeasurably with an October date.

"I think there would be a lot more profile if it was two weeks after the season finished," he said.

"It's a good concept, (but) I think the scheduling could be better.

"Back here it needs to be more profiled and if you could do it a couple of weeks after the grand final when everyone is still talking footy."

International duties, with Tri-Nations and World Cup tournaments scheduled for October-November, stand as the major obstacle.

The Broncos showed as much desire as any NRL premier of recent times to win the WCC title.

A near full strength Brisbane travelled to the United Kingdom two weeks in advance and played a trial against Welsh side, the Celtic Crusaders.

But they were unable to show the chemistry of the Saints who had already enjoyed three Super League games in their new season.

Lockyer, though, sent a warning to the Broncos NRL rivals by stating they were now in far better position than this time last year.

"First game of the season your execution is always down a bit," he said.

"But I think where we are at this stage this year, compared to last year, we are streets ahead.

"I think the fact that our combinations seem to be more fluent because we have the same personnel in key positions.

"I think we will start the season on a good note."

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