Maroons selectors owe me nothing: Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maroons selectors owe me nothing: Lockyer

Wayne Heming 26/01/2011 04:19:05 PM Comments (0)

BRISBANE Jan 26 AAP - Darren Lockyer has declared himself available for one more campaign against NSW but insists Queensland selectors owe him nothing despite playing 32 State of Origin matches since 1998.

Lockyer agonised over his representative future for months last year before leading Queensland to an historic fifth straight series win and their first clean-sweep since 1995.

To avoid a repeat of the media circus that hounded him in 2010, he's already declared he wants another crack at the Blues.

As he embarks on an amazing 17th NRL season after making his debut for Brisbane off the bench as an 18-year-old in 1995, Lockyer's determined to earn his 33rd Maroons' jumper - not be handed one for services rendered.

"I'm not looking for any favours (from selectors), I'm just going to play footy and see where that takes me," Lockyer told AAP when asked if he felt he'd earned a loyalty card should his form be down before the opening Origin game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on May 25.

Lockyer will have 10 NRL games for Brisbane to prove at 34 he can still cut the mustard in the toughest arena in rugby league.

Queensland selectors have a long history of picking players who inspire team-mates in Origin.

They set the trend in the first Origin game in 1980, picking 35-year-old Roosters prop Arthur Beetson as their inaugural captain.

They would still be pushing Wally Lewis onto Lang Park in a wheelchair had he not retired at 32 after 32 Origins.

Current coach Mal Meninga, who played the same number of games as Lewis, also called it quits at the age of 32.

Allan Langer, whose record of 34 Origins Lockyer is closing in on, pulled stumps at aged 35 after his famous recall from England in 2001.

Lockyer will be 34 when Origin rolls around.

"I haven't really thought too much about it (Origin)," said Lockyer, never comfortable when pushed about his many club, state and Test records.

"My focus right now is on the Broncos.

"We (Brisbane) had a shocking start to the season last year which put us under a lot of pressure through the Origin series and as a result we just didn't have the legs in us at the back end of the season.

"My priority now is to make sure we hit the ground running and the rest will look after itself."

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak doesn't believe Lockyer is taking a gamble saddling up for representative duties again after experiencing the high of Queensland's record-breaking win last year and the low of losing the Four Nations' final to New Zealand.

"He knows his body better than anyone and I'm sure if he was feeling flat or tired he wouldn't have taken it on," said Henjak.

"I thought he played really well last year. He handled the representative season really well, it was just a shame for us (Broncos) he got hurt at the end of the season.

"He's very experienced at making big decisions and I think he's made the right one again."

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