Qld selection 'no problem' for Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld selection 'no problem' for Lockyer

By Laine Clark and Wayne Heming 21/04/2009 06:23:06 PM Comments (0)

If Darren Lockyer was anxious at all about his Origin spot, Queensland Rugby League boss John McDonald did his best to ease any concerns on Tuesday.

A day after Maroons coach Mal Meninga curiously did not pour cold water over rumours the Broncos captain's Origin position was under threat, McDonald said Lockyer would have no problem making the Australian side, let alone the Queensland team.

"People are selected on their ability and their form and I don't think he has a problem in either of those areas," he told AAP.

"I don't see any problem with Darren Lockyer being in the side.

"And I am sure anyone picking an Australian team would want him in there as well."

Lockyer is the first to admit he is yet to hit top form this season but a News Limited report claiming he was in danger of being overlooked for the June 3 Origin opener at Melbourne came as a surprise.

While Meninga refused to declare the Australian and Broncos skipper an Origin selection certainty on Monday, McDonald said Lockyer was close to a "walk-up start".

"I didn't take any notice of that (article)," he said.

"Of course everyone is considered for selection but Darren has been part of the organisation for some time.

"Last year he suffered an injury but he has come back well."

Broncos coach Ivan Henjak hinted that the rumours may be a result of tall poppy syndrome.

"I just think there's a high expectation on him and I think that can be highly unfair at times," he said on Tuesday.

"Over the years he's been such a dominant figure in our team in terms of setting up tries and plays.

"The last few years we've been able to have a few other options there but ...he still has a big presence in our team.

"Other teams still worry about him when he gets the footy.

"We're more than happy with the role he is playing.

"We can all play a little bit better but he's on track."

The Broncos haven't exactly struggled despite Lockyer easing into the season.

Points differential is the only reason Brisbane (5-1 record) trails leaders, the Gold Coast Titans.

"We've got five wins out of six and I think we're second out of try scoring so we have to be doing something right and he's a big part of our attack," Henjak said.

"I think we're pretty good defensively as well...so I'm not sure where all that is coming from."

Meanwhile, the Broncos are hopeful of finalising a new deal with Lockyer after promising talks with his manager George Mimis in Brisbane on Monday.

Queensland assistant coach Neil Henry said Meninga knew Lockyer "always steps up" in the big games.

"I don't know where that (speculation) has come from, he's a great player," he told reporters in Townsville on Tuesday.

"In the (Origin) campaigns he has been in, he has always given great service.

"He may be not running as much (for the Broncos). We are used to him taking the line on, but these guys get up for the big games.

"And he's in a side that are going very well and he hasn't had to take a leading hand - I think (halfback Peter) Wallace is doing a tremendous job there.

"It's speculation anyway. Mal (Meninga) knows he always steps up, and he will do so again."

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