Lockyer ready to answer his critics - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer ready to answer his critics

By Jim Morton 22/04/2009 05:37:50 PM Comments (0)

Queensland and Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer's rivals should be worried - very worried.

Lockyer vowed on Wednesday to end speculation he could be a shock State of Origin omission in the same manner he did when his ability was last brought into question.

The Broncos five-eighth said he'd deal with the current scrutiny the way he did in 2006 when he responded to criticism of his leadership by taking out rugby league's quadrella - the NRL premiership, State of Origin, Tri-Nations and Golden Boot.

Lockyer admitted at a Brisbane football luncheon he hadn't performed to his best in the opening six rounds of the NRL but was unfazed by a report he was under pressure to regain the Maroons No.6 jersey.

"I think it's part and parcel of being a professional sportsman, there's always going to speculation about yourself if your not quite playing as well as you'd like," he said at the annual Three-Codes Luncheon.

"I'm not immune to that. It's happened before in the past. I remember in `06 the same conversation was going on.

"I dealt with it then and I'll deal with it now.

"So I'll just keep a good attitude and keep working hard and I think things will turn around."

Turn around they did for Lockyer in 2006, and massively.

There were calls for him to be stripped of the captaincy and moved back to fullback after Queensland lost the Origin opener 17-16 to NSW, to have the Maroons staring down the barrel of a fourth straight series defeat.

A man-of-the-match display in a 30-6 game two hiding sparked a major reversal which saw him also score the series-winning try in the Melbourne decider, before captaining the Broncos to the premiership and Australia to the Tri-Nations.

Questions over Lockyer's standing come after Queensland won their third straight Origin series last year without the then-injured captain.

Johnathan Thurston combined successfully with Scott Prince in the halves and with both younger men again fit and well, chairman of selectors Des Morris could not guarantee Lockyer would be picked to start in 2009.

The 32-year-old has had a quiet start to the season with Brisbane but hasn't been required to star for the Broncos who sit equal first on top of the NRL ladder with a 5-1 record.

Coach Mal Meninga was miffed by suggestions his long-term captain would be recalled to action but also failed to guarantee a return.

Thurston, who returned to signature form for North Queensland in their big win over Cronulla, was bemused by the reports, saying it was a given Lockyer would be the first man picked by the Maroons.

"Locky not there, that's just too funny," the Cowboys captain said.

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