Kangaroos jumper at stake for Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos jumper at stake for Lockyer

By Steve Jancetic 21/04/2008 07:25:01 PM Comments (0)

Darren Lockyer needs only to survive Brisbane's Anzac Day clash with South Sydney to ensure Australian selection for next month's Centenary Test against the Kiwis.

Lockyer is poised to return from a knee problem that limited him to just three appearances this year when the Broncos host the winless Bunnies on Friday night.

His timing couldn't be better with selectors to name their side for the May 9 Test at the SCG following Sunday's Cronulla-Wests Tigers NRL encounter.

"He's a world class player ... if he gets through he'll play (the Test) you've got to think," Australian selector Bob McCarthy said.

Lockyer was thought to be long odds to lead out the Kangaroos when the knee reconstructed last year forced him from the field against Melbourne in round four.

He is set to run with the rest of his Broncos teammates at training on Tuesday and, while he is no certainty to take on the Bunnies, Test selector Les Geeves said Lockyer's possible return was a major positive.

"If he can get through it would be a big bonus for us, a big bonus for Australia," he said.

"He's the Australian captain, hopefully he gets through and he'll be okay.

"We'll get reports on all the guys before we pick the team, we'll get a report from (the Broncos) doctor after the game on Friday night and a report on (St George Illawarra centre) Mark Gasnier from their club doctor whether he's fit to be selected or not."

Gasnier is an unlikely starter due to a calf injury expected to keep him on the sidelines until round 10, a week after the SCG Test.

His unavailability could open the door for Brent Tate to make a return to the international arena.

The former Broncos flyer is somewhat of the forgotten man of Australian rugby league following his move to the New Zealand Warriors following a knee injury that ruined his final season in Brisbane.

Geeves said he was impressed with what he saw of Tate against North Queensland on Saturday night, the 15-Test veteran running for 133 metres and making five tackle breaks.

"He's playing quite well, he'll definitely come into discussions," Geeves said of Tate.

"He missed out (on the end of season Test against New Zealand) last year because he was injured.

"He's been good for us in the past and he hasn't lost any pace that's for sure."

While Tate will have to battle with a host of others like Israel Folau, Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne and Justin Hodges for a spot in the three-quarters, the available talent up front is a little more sparse.

Incumbent Steve Price has a hamstring problem and Gold Coast workhorse Luke Bailey a broken arm.

Sydney Roosters prop Mark O'Meley threw up a name for selectors - but it wasn't his own.

"My bloke who I think should make it is Nate Myles," O'Meley said.

"They're short of front rowers, his work ethic is good and he has a lot of minutes in him.

"He is the type of bloke I think might surprise everyone and get picked."

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