Tributes flow for Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tributes flow for Lockyer

Wayne Heming 28/03/2011 08:18:22 PM Comments (0)

Queensland legend Wally Lewis says Darren Lockyer will never be forgotten but he will be replaced.

As tributes flowed following Lockyer's retirement announced on Monday, the player known as "The King" described him as a leader whom players respected and responded to.

Lockyer started his career as a fullback but has played the latter part of his career in the No.6 Queensland and Australian jumper Lewis dominated during the 1980s.

Their style of play and leadership may have been very different but they were similar in many ways.

They inspired players. They stepped up in a crisis and they were winners.

"Most of the time the best leaders are the quiet achievers who players follow like Lockyer," Lewis told AAP on Monday.

"You can either stand up and demand what you want from your team or lead from the front.

"When teams are successful it's a mark of respect the players have for their captain.

"When I was finished everyone said: `what's going to happen', then a little bloke named Alfie (Allan Langer) stepped up.

"When he left, Locky took over."

Lewis said Lockyer's early days at fullback watching Allan Langer work his magic would have been worth its weight in gold.

"Alf was the best I ever saw at it (coming up with big plays)," said Lewis who won many big games when things seemed lost.

"People ask me who is the best captain I've seen ... well, it was Allan Langer by a country mile."

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens said Lockyer had hinted at his retirement last year.

Sheens said it was subjective comparing players.

"If you talk about champions over a long period of time, he's certainly had that longevity," said the Tigers and Australian coach.

"He's gone through all the issues that you can possibly go through, serious injuries, a knee reconstruction, all those things and come out the other end with a fine career, not only for his club but his state and certainly for his country.

"He's a champion. There are many great champions who've played this game over the last 100 or more years in this country.

"But in the modern era he is probably one of the finest football players, five-eighth or fullback, to have played the game."

Former teammate and now South Sydney backrower Dave Taylor was shocked to hear Lockyer was pulling the pin at the end of 2011.

"I thought he might have gone around for a couple more years," said Taylor who came through under Lockyer's leadership before joining South Sydney in 2010.

"He's the Wally Lewis of our era and playing alongside a bloke like that doesn't come around very often. I'm very proud to have played alongside him.'

Taylor is hoping he gets another chance to play with Lockyer in this year's Origin series which will be his last.

"Queenslanders have always got passion. Having this on their shoulders, I think they'll want to give him one more to see him out in style."

Former Broncos prop Shane Webcke, whose impending retirement helped inspire the Broncos as they claimed the 2006 title, said despite Lockyer playing it down every player in the side would want to go out and win a final premiership for him.

Webcke added it would be a long time before a player of his class would be seen again.

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