Lockyer helps Broncos sink Sharks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer helps Broncos sink Sharks

By Ian McCullough 29/05/2010 09:16:15 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak hailed skipper Darren Lockyer following his tremendous display in the Broncos' 20-4 NRL win over Cronulla on Saturday.

The Queensland and Australia captain showed no ill-effects in backing up from Wednesday's State of Origin opener, to guide his side to a third successive victory, with brilliant all-round performance.

Lockyer raced home for a second-half try, set up Israel Folau for a four-pointer and also produced a fantastic tackle to deny fellow veteran five-eighth Trent Barrett just in front of the posts.

Barrett, whose recent good form should keep him in the picture for a NSW recall, expertly re-gathered his own chip and chase minutes before the break, only to be hauled down by Lockyer who sprinted back to make the challenge and prevent a certain try.

Both Henjak and Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart agreed the moment was a turning point in the game, with the Broncos leading 2-0 at the time.

"I thought he (Lockyer) was our best tonight, he led by example and backing up the way he did from Wednesday, saving that try and getting one himself, he made a huge contribution to the win," Henjak said.

"Those plays turn footy matches and there were a few of those for us tonight, Darren's was the crucial one ... and they are the big plays we were not producing earlier in the season."

Lockyer played down his role in the tackle and also tipped Barrett to perform well if selected by the Blues for the second match in Brisbane next month.

"I was probably lucky, I got my fingers inside his shorts, I was only an inch away from missing him but it is always satisfying when you get those ones," Lockyer said.

"Barrett was good, we have had a good few battles over the years and I guess he did his Origin chances no harm at all tonight."

Stuart was philosophical about his side's display and admitted Brisbane were full value for their win.

"They deserved to win the game, they replicated their first half, and I told our boys if they could do the same then they would be in there at the end," Stuart said.

"We perhaps threw too many dry weather passes and gave them a chance and we can't do that against good sides like Brisbane."

Stuart also lamented two missed opportunities, with Isaac Gordon as well as Barrett denied by a last-ditch tackle early in the second half by Matt Gillett.

"Lockyer did a real good job there getting back on Trent and Gillett got a jumper pull-down on Gordon," he said.

"Both would have gone for tries ... and that was the difference in the end."

Stuart joined Lockyer in backing Barrett's Origin chances and said NSW should have a natural playmaker at five-eighth.

"We need a guy like Trent ... I wouldn't put my name to it if I didn't think he was up to it, I wouldn't want to embarrass myself," he said.

"A genuine half is what we lacked, Jamie Lyon has got great ability as a centre ... I think Trent showed last year he is still capable of playing that kind of footy.

"We have to look at players that Queensland don't want us to pick and Trent is one of them as he tough and very experienced."

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