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Lockyer new King of Origin

By Wayne Heming 08/07/2009 07:06:59 PM Comments (0)

Leading Queensland to their first whitewash of NSW in 15 years on Wednesday night after already clinching an historic fourth straight series would have to be Darren Lockyer's finest Origin achievement.

There's no doubt it would be something very special for his scrapbook.

But would it surpass the personal satisfaction Lockyer gained from bringing Queensland back from the brink of Origin oblivion in 2006?

NSW were threatening to create their own slice of history having won three straight series from 2003 to 2005.

Lockyer was captain in 2005. The Maroons won the first game but lost the last two and the series.

After blowing a good lead and losing the opening game in 2006, the knives came out again for Lockyer with questions about his leadership.

It proved a defining period in his great career, one which inspired him to produce a stunning year on the football field.

Not only did he lift the Maroons home 2-1 in Origin under rookie coach Mal Meninga, he cleaned up everything on offer.

The Broncos won the premiership, Australia claimed the Tri Nations on the back of his brilliance and he was named the game's Golden Boot winner for the second time in his career.

Lockyer struggled when asked if victory on Wednesday night in his 30th game for Queensland would be his finest Origin moment.

"They're all special because they are just so hard to win," the 32-year-old told AAP.

"We've been fortunate to be able to win a few on the trot.

"For me, when we started this campaign ... it had never been done before, so it was always going to be one of the most difficult.

"But 2006 was very special, so it's hard to compare them.

"In `06 we had to overcome a lot, the critics were out in force and Queensland were under the pump and I guess so was Origin a little.

"We'd lost three series on the trot and we got bagged by everyone, including some of our own.

"The knives were out after we lost the first game of 2006 under Mal.

"I think all that started this road to history for us, so that series will always be very special to me."

Lockyer's Origin record stands at 14 wins, 13 losses and two draws from 29 games.

He has won nine of the 14 Origins in which he has been captain and Queensland have won four series with him at the helm in 2006-07 and 2009 and in 2001, when he deputised for two games for Gorden Tallis in the Allan Langer comeback.

Knee problems robbed him of leading Queensland to victory in 2008.

There isn't much Lockyer hasn't done.

Premierships, Test, Origins, Dally Ms, Golden Boots, Queensland's team of the century.

The skinny blond-haired, bow-legged kid from Roma who turned heads in his first game for the Broncos off the bench in 1995, has done it all.

He has gone from the game's best fullback to its best five-eighth since coach Wayne Bennett asked him to switch for the sake of the team in 2004.

There has been speculation a cleans weep finale to the Maroons history-making series would be the perfect note for Lockyer to drop the curtain.

"I guess it would be," said Lockyer, adding that decision though would depend on how his body came up next season.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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