Lockyer still Brisbane's go-to man - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer still Brisbane's go-to man

Wayne Heming 10/03/2011 07:22:04 PM Comments (0)

On the eve of his 17th NRL season, Darren Lockyer again looms as Brisbane's 'go-to man' heading into Friday night's season-opener between the Broncos and North Queensland.

Given their recent history of thrillers, 32-year-old Lockyer could be called on to decide the match, while the Cowboys have their own money man in world class halfback Johnathan Thurston.

Lockyer thrives when games are in the balance and says he was inspired to perform under pressure by watching Wally Lewis as a youngster.

"When I grew up watching Origin, Wally (Lewis) was the man when Queensland needed something special," Lockyer told AAP.

"I don't know whether I had an infatuation with watching Wally or maybe it's just natural, I'm not sure.

"I don't go out hoping the game is tight, I'd prefer we were comfortable.

"But I always find when the game is in the balance, the adrenalin pumps a bit more and you know this is the moment, so you do your bit to swing the result."

Rookie coach Anthony Griffin launches his NRL career confident if the game is on the line he has the best in the business to deliver the knock-out punch.

Asked if there was a better player in the NRL in a crisis than Lockyer, Griffin said: "I've got to say no.

"I wouldn't have anyone else out there than Darren Lockyer if we're in a tight spot and I know we will be a number of times on Friday night.

"He's the best player in the world and he has been for some time.

"We've been lucky he's been ours for a long time."

Lockyer is looking forward to the debuts of rookie Jack Reed, who will face a real acid test against international centre Willie Tonga, and young winger Dane Gagai, a relative of Wendell Sailor.

Last year Lockyer's right centre target was giant Israel Folau, but with him moving to AFL and Justin Hodges (hamstring) on the sidelines, 22-year-old brickie Reed has been rewarded for some excellent trial form with a debut.

"Dane and Jack getting starts, particularly with Jack starting outside me, it's a little different, but I am excited for them," said Lockyer.

He hasn't weighed the two rookies down with too much going into the game other than letting them know he's looking forward to playing with them.

"I played with Jack in a trial against the Storm and he was really impressive, particularly his attitude which was spot on," said Lockyer.

"There'll be nerves, that's natural.

"Jack is instinctively a footballer, he does a lot of things right and he communicates very well.

"Without putting too much pressure on him I know he is looking forward to playing against an Australian centre (Tonga).

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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