Prepare for 'Maroon storm': Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Prepare for 'Maroon storm': Lockyer

By Wayne Heming 17/09/2008 05:40:59 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer has warned Melbourne's contingent of Queensland Origin stars to brace for a hostile Suncorp Stadium crowd set to turn on them in Saturday night's NRL knockout final.

Craig Bellamy's Storm side features six players - Billy Slater, Brisbane-bound Israel Folau, Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Michael Crocker and Dallas Johnson - who were heroes with Queensland fans a few months ago when they secured a third straight State of Origin series.

But Lockyer said they would not be nearly as welcome wearing Storm colours in Saturday night's do-or-die clash with the Broncos.

"One of the things we're looking forward to, we're going to playing in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium so it's going to feel like a State of Origin," said Lockyer.

"A lot of those (Storm) guys are used to coming to Suncorp and playing in a Maroons jersey with everyone cheering them on.

"It'll be a different situation for them this time with the fans against them but they've all played big games before, they've all played Origin and Test footy and they'll come here pretty confident about what they're going to do."

Brisbane have tried to block out the drama of having three star players under police investigation for a sex assault allegation.

Lockyer, whose leadership and game-breaking skills will be needed against a Storm side bristling with match-winners, said his players had spoken about not letting the club's off-field dramas affect them on Saturday night.

"Those things are not in our hands, what's in our hands is our destiny as a football team," he said.

"The Broncos have had adversity over the years and they've always pulled through okay.

"Saturday night's match is a tough match as it is, so we'll have to wait and see what happens."

Lockyer expressed faith in the referees to police the controversial grapple tackle after Warriors skipper Steve Price complained about its use by the Storm last weekend.

"Obviously there was a bit of talk about the grapple tackle after the game on the weekend," he said.

"I'm sure the referees would have talked about that this week and made sure they came up here with a plan before the game about what they'll do if they see any incidents such as those."

Melbourne strike forward Ryan Hoffman, left shattered after Brisbane upset them in the 2006 grand final, is racing the clock to beat an ankle injury.

The Storm build a lot of plays around the wide running back-rower but Lockyer almost brushed him aside as a threat.

"If Ryan plays or he doesn't, it won't change the way I'm going to play," Lockyer said.

Melbourne, who beat Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium in finals clashes in 2004-05 and embarrassed them last year, arrive in Brisbane on Thursday.

They've regained favouritism after bookmakers re-opened betting on the game on Tuesday.

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