Petero will bounce back: Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Petero will bounce back: Lockyer

Laine Clark 11/11/2010 07:06:21 PM Comments (0)

In the wake of Petero Civoniceva's selfless gesture ahead of the Four Nations final, not even long-serving coach Tim Sheens could recall another player volunteering to stand down from an Australian rugby league side.

But if anyone could understand the veteran prop's noble call, it was Kangaroos skipper Darren Lockyer.

And after exorcising some demons of his own, Lockyer was confident that Civoniceva had not played his last Test.

Lockyer toasted Civoniceva after the fatigued prop told Test coach Sheens he did not deserve to be picked for Saturday night's Suncorp Stadium clash with New Zealand.

"Tim said to me that it had never happened to him in his coaching career," Lockyer said.

"He (Civoniceva) has just been very honest with himself - he didn't want to let the team down.

"It is pretty special what he has done.

"Everyone knows what a good bloke he is - this just typifies it."

The 34-year-old frontrower saw the writing on the wall after struggling against the Kiwis in last week's 34-20 win at Eden Park.

Nate Myles has taken Civoniceva's bench spot after Matt Scott and David Shillington were retained in the starting front row.

But Lockyer believed Civoniceva would add to his 44-Test career - a record for an Australian forward.

"I went through a similar period 12 months ago," the 33-year-old Lockyer said.

"I was physically feeling a bit flat and I didn't know whether I was up for another season of rep footy or even club footy.

"I made a decision to do it for another 12 months and I worked hard to make it work.

"So I think Petero will go away in the off-season, have a rest mentally, work hard with his training and he will know if he is ready to go again."

But Lockyer added: "He's not going to pull the pin on rep football.

"It's just the back end of the season.

"When you play up front like Petero the body cops a bit of a hiding - I just think it has all been a bit too much."

Lockyer endured months of speculation before finally committing to play rep footy in 2010.

He said he felt as fresh as ever, keeping the door open for more honours in 2011 - and beyond.

"I feel a lot better than I did last year, but I have played less football than Petero this year," he said.

"But as age keeps ticking over they (questions about his future) are going to just keep coming."

Sheens said Civoniceva's decision to stand down had plenty to do with Saturday night's opposition.

"He battled last week against the New Zealand offence down the middle and he admitted it," he said.

"He said his form wasn't good enough to be selected.

"That says something of the guy, most guys tend to hide from it."

Sheens - whose playing and coaching career spans 40 years - added: "It (Civoniceva's call) is something I have not come across before."

He said Civoniceva was a victim of a long, intense season - but had no idea how the burden could have been eased.

"Our season is shorter than England's - it's the intensity (of the NRL that wears players down) and you don't want to change that," he said.

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