Lockyer one of a kind says Sailor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer one of a kind says Sailor

By Wayne Heming 14/08/2008 07:48:26 PM Comments (0)

Wendell Sailor remembers the day he asked Brisbane teammates who the skinny kid was at training before an NRL game against Parramatta in 1995.

The "kid" was Darren Lockyer.

"At the start of the week Locky walked over and I turned to the boys and said `who is this bloke'," recalled Sailor, who'll have a homecoming for the Dragons against the Broncos at Suncorp on Friday night.

"They said he was some young kid from Roma who was apparently pretty sharp.

"I didn't know him and I remember looking at them and saying `are you guys serious'".

"He came on in the 50th minute and I think we were up 40-10 and he did three or four unbelievable things.

"I looked at Steve Renouf and said `Darren Lockyer, remember that name because it's going to go a long way'."

Sailor rated Lockyer alongside Andrew Johns and Allan Langer as the best players he has played with or against.

"I'd put him up their with Joey and Alfie as the best I've ever played with and I've played with some greats," he said.

"As a player he is one of the greats but as a mate and what he brings to the game, you couldn't ask for anything more.

"His comments the other day about owing rugby league so much and that he would never play rugby union typifies the person he is."

Sailor said the thing Lockyer rarely got recognised for was his incredible toughness.

"Great players keep evolving and pound for pound there aren't any tougher players," he said.

"The Kiwis used to try and rough him up all the time before Tests but he was that tough it never worked.

"Just being injured this year he's shown what a marvellous competitor he is to get back and be part of the team.

"Rugby League needs to hang onto him, he's one of a kind."

Despite his admiration for Lockyer, Sailor will have no problems spoiling his big night.

"He is my mate and Wayne Bennett has been influential in my career," he said.

"But at the of the day you want nothing more than to go to Suncorp and cause an upset," he said.

"If that happens, I'll be one of the first to walk into the dressing room to congratulate him (Lockyer) on such a great feat so far."

Broncos assistant coach Ivan Henjak said Sailor would love the big occasion.

"I'm sure he'll be up for a big game, back at Suncorp for the first time," said Henjak.

"It's a really big game for us with Locky breaking the record.

"It'll be a great atmosphere and that's the environment he loves."

Inexperienced winger Kaine Manihera will mark Sailor.

Brisbane have lost utility Greg Eastwood who was ruled out with a neck injury.

"Our back-row will be a little smaller without TC (Carroll) and Eastwood but (David) Stagg and Corey (Parker) will be there and we're still going to have some big guys coming off the bench," Henjak said.

"We'll miss a little bit of his impact but we'll make up for that with Staggy and Corey going 80 minutes.

St George have their problems as well, losing creative halfback Jamie Soward.

"He's been one of their form players and you take one of them out of any side and it detracts from your performance," Henjak said.

"We're glad he's not playing but it's not a major issue.

"It's not going to win us or lose us a game."

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