Darren Lockyer comeback looking good - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Darren Lockyer comeback looking good

By Jim Morton 23/04/2008 05:08:25 PM Comments (0)

Darren Lockyer is set to start in his NRL return on Friday night and former teammate Mick De Vere predicts the Broncos skipper will quickly prove he deserves Test selection.

The Broncos confidently talked up Lockyer's chances of running on at five-eighth against South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium after a positive physiotherapist's report on his troublesome knee on Wednesday.

Chief executive Bruno Cullen said the Kangaroos, Queensland and Brisbane captain "looks a definite starter" after backing up pain-free from searching training sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

"He's come through both of them and more importantly the reaction has been good, in fact there's been no reaction, so there's no soreness there," Cullen said. "The physio's happy and Darren's happy.

"He's been named in the starting line-up, I don't get involved in the coaching side of things of course ..., but certainly at this stage he looks like a definite starter."

It's been Lockyer's inability to back up from training which has kept him out of the Broncos' last two matches after he made a speedy return from an August knee reconstruction to play in the first four rounds.

A solid comeback against the Rabbitohs is expected to be enough to convince Test selectors he should lead the Kangaroos against New Zealand in the Centenary Test on May 9 despite a boasting plenty of other options.

The outstanding form of Cowboys half Jonathan Thurston and Gold Coast playmaker Scott Prince has seen a push for the pair to be picked in the halves, while Braith Anasta has been impressive at five-eighth for the Roosters.

Lockyer will also get the chance to impress against Wests Tigers next weekend before the Australian team is named and De Vere believes two games will be enough for him to be back near his best for the Test.

Former Test and NSW winger De Vere, who played eight seasons with Lockyer, went through a knee reconstruction of his own late in his Broncos career and felt Lockyer wouldn't be far off the pace on Friday.

"It's just a confidence thing and time thing. He's doing all the work, it just takes time to heal as well," he said.

"He'll be back to his best soon.

"The main thing was he came back and he got through those first couple of games and that would have boosted his confidence.

"It's probably a little bit sore which you still have to expect because it does take at least 12 months before it settles down.

"He'd still be keeping his fitness up and he's that experienced that he'll go back into the Australian side no worries."

"I'd have no problem picking him for Australia."

De Vere was on Wednesday back at the old ANZ Stadium, where the Broncos triumphed in the 1997 Super League grand final, as part of Centenary celebrations.

The ground, now known as the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, was commemorated as a site of historical significance in the game.

In 11 seasons and 130 home games at the venue, the Broncos enjoyed a remarkable record of 101 wins, four draws and 25 losses, including a winning streak of 24 matches between June 1996 and May 1998.

"The opposition generally hated playing the Broncos but they hated it more when they had to come here," said Cullen, who took the club back to Suncorp Stadium in 2003.

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