Thurston, Lockyer hot as Maroons' halves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston, Lockyer hot as Maroons' halves

By Wayne Heming 27/05/2010 06:28:42 PM Comments (0)

Wally Lewis and Allan Langer set a standard for rugby league State of Origin halves partnerships few thought could be equalled.

But after another magnificent performance Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston are closing hard on their status as the greatest Queensland pairing.

"Alfie" Langer and "King" Lewis teamed up 13 times between 1987-91 for a 9-4 win-loss record and four series wins.

Thurston and Lockyer combined for their 13th Origin in Wednesday night's 2010 series-opening win at ANZ Stadium, taking their record to 8-5 with three series victories.

That could become four series successes after game two in Brisbane next month and even five series wins next year if Lockyer was to play on - and that's not completely out of the question.

Coach Mal Meninga, yet to lose an Origin series since starting in 2006, has made it clear he wants Lockyer to keep going.

Lockyer - who played his 31st Origin on Wednesday night - hasn't categorically ruled it out.

"I'm treating this as my last but I don't officially want to close the door," said Lockyer after another standout performance in Wednesday's match.

It's fun to debate but to Queensland fans it probably doesn't really matter who were the best halves pairing - just that they played in Maroons jumpers.

Meanwhile, Lewis has no problems ranking Meninga's record-breaking Origin squad as Queensland's best ever but, as with all such arguments involving different eras, it's hard to compare.

"I think we played a completely different style of football but they have the runs on the board ... you can't argue with that," an impressed Lewis said on Wednesday night.

Some could argue given Lewis-led Queensland sides won eight straight Origins games - embracing two series' clean sweeps between 1987-89 - that they were the best.

Then again Meninga's maroons have now won nine of their last 13 Origin games and are one win away from a fifth successive series, a record which may never be beaten.

"I had the opportunity of playing the first five years of Origin and if you lined those teams up against this one you would have blokes saying this is by far a batter side, and you would have to agree with them," Lewis told AAP.

"You just sit back and admire how they play, especially when you look at the players they are missing like Cameron Smith, Justin Hodges, Ben Hannant, Steve Price, Dallas Johnson and Michael Crocker.

"Yet they come out play like that, like they haven't made a change.

"They tossed up three more players in Matt Ballin, Cooper Cronk and Dave Taylor who just walked into the team and did their jobs.

"The future certainly looks great."

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