Lockyer may play on in 2011 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer may play on in 2011

By Laine Clark & Wayne Heming 18/05/2010 06:54:13 PM Comments (0)

It has been billed as Darren Lockyer's last hurrah for Queensland but the 2010 Origin series is hardly being treated as a swansong by Maroons coach Mal Meninga.

And Lockyer certainly didn't help hose down speculation either.

When Lockyer ended months of soul-searching and opted to extend his representative career in April, it was assumed the 2010 series would provide his final taste of Origin.

But Meninga appeared to open a can of worms after unveiling his side for next Wednesday's series opener in Sydney.

Asked how motivated the team was ahead of Lockyer's last series, Meninga said: "I just talked to Darren then, and he is not quite sure if it is going to be his last series yet.

"It's all speculation (Lockyer walking away from Origin after 2010).

"I am just happy that he has made a decision to go around one more year.

"If it's his last year, well, we want to make sure individually we prepare really well and if we do that and play well as a team we will give Darren his just rewards."

Lockyer tried to laugh off the comment but didn't exactly rule out a 2011 return for his beloved Maroons.

"He (Meninga) said that, did he? He's just trying to confuse me," Lockyer smiled.

"Look, at the moment I am thinking that it is.

"It's hard to close the door, that's the easy way to say it.

"But I'm approaching this as my final series.

"Regardless whether it is or not, it is not in my thinking at the moment - I am just worried about game one in Sydney."

Sensing renewed speculation over his representative future may again become a distraction, Lockyer said he would address the team about it as they vie for a record fifth straight Origin series win.

"I will be speaking to them and making sure it is not (a distraction) - it shouldn't be about me at all," he said.

The 33-year-old wrestled over his representative future during a poor season start by his NRL club the Brisbane Broncos, who are attempting to make the finals for the 19th straight year.

But he finally made up his mind ahead of an ARL deadline on players applying for an exemption from this month's trans-Tasman Test and the Origin series.

If Lockyer decided to play on next year, he could add another record to his glittering career.

He has played 30 Origins for Queensland since 1998 - four short of Allan Langer's record.

Lockyer still sounded like a man motivated by State of Origin at the team announcement in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"I am one of the oldest (players in the current Maroons team) ... and you have a different responsibility," he said.

"You are the ones who are going to drive the culture in the team - when I first started, I was a young kid looking at your heroes."

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