Lockyer sweats over rep career - again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer sweats over rep career - again

By Laine Clark and Wayne Heming 08/06/2010 07:38:53 PM Comments (0)

Only one Queensland retiree was guaranteed a Suncorp Stadium Origin farewell next week, according to Maroons coach Mal Meninga - and it wasn't skipper Darren Lockyer.

Meninga's bold call came after Lockyer gave his strongest indication yet that he would play on for Queensland in 2011, saying it would be "difficult to say goodbye" to his representative career.

Meninga said Steve Price would be brought into the Maroons camp in the lead-up to next Wednesday night's Origin II clash to provide the long-serving prop a fitting representative farewell to Queensland rugby league's spiritual home.

Price - a veteran of 28 Origins for Queensland - will retire at season's end and is battling the clock to pull on the Maroons jersey again as he recovers from a foot injury.

But Meninga was coy when asked if the Suncorp Stadium showdown - which could seal Queensland's fifth straight series win - was Lockyer's last in Maroon in hometown Brisbane.

"We don't know whether it is going to be Darren's last home game," he said.

And Lockyer wasn't ruling anything out just yet.

"I couldn't guarantee that (it would be his last Origin in Brisbane)," he said.

"I don't officially want to close the door on it.

"How the hell do I know how I'm going to feel this time next year?"

After agonising over a decision earlier this year to extend his representative career in 2010, it appears Lockyer must face the dilemma all over again.

Lockyer admitted he was surprised at how fresh his 33-year-old body and mind felt after 51 Tests and 31 Origins - and counting.

"I guess that's what made me think twice about it all," he said.

"This period last year I struggled through.

"Physically I wasn't backing up for the Broncos and in the off-season I had that in mind and I didn't want to put myself through that again.

"That's why I worked so hard in the off-season to get my fitness where I want to be.

"If I'm feeling as good as I am right now in 12 months' time then I don't see any reason why I should close the door on it."

Winning five straight series may also influence Lockyer.

"It's been very enjoyable and there's a bond between this group of guys," Lockyer said.

"Mal (Meninga) has done a good job in keeping the same group of guys together and it's difficult to say goodbye to that."

Meninga believed Price was the only Queenslander farewelling Brisbane on Wednesday night.

"At the moment we have Pricey coming over. Obviously he has made a decision to retire at the end of the year," he said.

"He will come into camp at the end of the year because he deserves to, to celebrate his contribution to Queensland rugby league.

"Whether Darren makes that decision, we may hear that during the camp - we are not quite sure at the moment.

"Regardless, Darren will want the team to prepare the best as they can so we get a team victory, and if we get a team victory Darren will be well satisfied."

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