Bennett declares Lockyer 'league legend' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett declares Lockyer 'league legend'

By Wayne Heming 30/08/2008 01:15:50 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has paid his captain Darren Lockyer the highest possible honour, publicly declaring him a rugby league legend.

Lockyer plays his 300th game for the Broncos against the battling Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Bennett, in line to notch his 350th win, said it was a special occasion for him share with Lockyer.

Asked to rank Lockyer, Bennett, who has coached many greats including Wally Lewis and Allan Langer, said: "he ranks right up there."

"You can call him a great or legend without embarrassing yourself or wasting words," said Bennett, not known for throwing around superlatives lightly.

"It's a wonderful moment him playing 300 games.

"He's everything, isn't he.

"He's inspirational, he's such a wonderful player with great gifts and he's made those great gifts even better because of his attitude."

Bennett, who's wary of a Bulldogs ambush after they caused a huge upset at Suncorp Stadium last month, also praised his 2008 Broncos, probably the last Brisbane side he'll coach after ending his 21 year reign at Red Hill to coach the Dragons next season.

Brisbane, and especially the forward pack, has copped a barrage of criticism in recent weeks about their failure to keep pace with the likes of hot premiership favourites Melbourne and last year's beaten grand finalists Manly.

"I've been proud of them on many occasions this year," said Bennett in his first pre-game press conference this season.

"Locky played 13 out of 22 or half the season, Justin (Hodges) has played 10 out of 22 and they're major strike players for us.

"We lost Peter Wallace for four weeks.

"Early in the season we didn't know what they were going to deliver with no Lockyer (knee) but they were tremendous.

"I'm not a critic of them.

"We can do better, we know that and we're working towards that. We have to do better but we know we're not far off the pace.

Hooker Michael Ennis dropped out of the clash against the club he'll join next season with a virus with PJ Marsh called into the dummy half role.

"It's a good opportunity for PJ," said Bennett.

"He just hasn't been able to make the side because Mick's been playing so well.

"He was out of form and we sent him back to the Central Queensland Comets for a while and he hasn't had the opportunities.

"But he's got one tomorrow and I hope he grabs it and shows us all what he can like when he first came here."

Bennett said the Bulldogs were in a similar position to when they upset the Broncos last month, although they don't have Sonny Bill Williams.

"The last time we played them they hadn't won a lot of games and they were struggling but they beat us," he said.

"That's the lesson you have to understand in the NRL is that everybody is capable of beating you if you're not on your game.

"If we go down there tomorrow thinking we just got to turn up like we did here in Brisbane, then we're going to get a rude shock because they're capable of beating us."

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