Meninga miffed by Lockyer speculation - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Meninga miffed by Lockyer speculation

By Wayne Heming 20/04/2009 07:48:04 PM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Mal Meninga has dismissed reports that champion five-eighth Darren Lockyer is under pressure to retain his place for the opening Origin game.

But Meninga - eyeing a record-breaking fourth straight series' win over NSW - refused to declare the Australian and Broncos skipper a selection certainty.

Brisbane's Sunday Mail reported Lockyer was in danger of being overlooked for the series opener on June 3 because of concerns from Queensland's `hierarchy" about his patchy start to the season.

"That didn't come from my mouth," Meninga told AAP on Monday.

"If Lockyer is playing, and the Broncos are on top of the ladder, you would have to say Darren is nearly a motza.

"But we don't want to discard anybody.

"If we say Darren is a dead cert, how do other players feel about that, they get disenchanted.

"We want players playing really well for their club so that when the time comes and we sit down to nut out the team we can pick the best players."

Meninga, who played for Queensland 32 times and has now coached them to a hat-trick of series wins again NSW, said people seemed to enjoy singling players out.

"I feel sorry for Darren to be honest," he said.

"At some stage people's careers finish and some others start.

"But the Broncos are top of the ladder and he (Lockyer) has played a hand in that.

"He can play better and he probably realises that.

"But what more can you ask of the guy?

"We (Queensland) have faith in people."

To many, leaving Lockyer out of Origin would be like leaving former greats Wally Lewis or Allan Langer out of maroon jumper - unthinkable.

Queensland though is blessed with depth in the halves and Meninga said a lot of football still had to be played before the Origin side was named.

"Scotty Prince comes out on the weekend and says `pick me, I'm ready to go' and Johnathan Thurston puts his hand up against the Sharks," he said.

"Cooper Cronk's going good down there (Melbourne) .... we've got exceptional halves, Chris Sandow is going great for the Rabbitohs.

"We're in a difficult situation. It's fantastic for Queensland rugby league at the moment that we've got so many people vying for spots.

"It's fantastic we've got that amount of competitiveness."

Brisbane forward Ashton Sims said the Broncos had lost just one game and Lockyer had been one of their best players.

"I'll leave that one up to the selectors," he said with a grin.

Bookmakers Sportingbet Australia however reacted to the Lockyer speculation on Monday by issuing a market which had him at $1.20 to be named Queensland's No.6 for game one or $4 not to be named.

They also had the Thurston/Lockyer halves combination at $1.60 ahead of a Prince/Lockyer partnership at $2.75 with a Prince Thurston pairing the outside option at $3.75.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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