Lockyer's true greatness not recognised - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer's true greatness not recognised

Laine Clark 28/03/2011 09:06:03 PM Comments (0)

It said a lot about Darren Lockyer when he announced that he would retire at season's end without emotion in Brisbane on Monday - then consoled a journalist over the news.

"I really don't know what to say," said a genuinely upset rugby league scribe who had covered the Broncos since their 1988 inception.

"You'll be right," Lockyer smiled before placing his hand on his shoulder.

What a pity the same empathy had not been shown Lockyer by some journalists in the past.

While no one can doubt Lockyer's greatness, it could be argued he has never been fully recognised for it.

Lockyer's record speaks for itself, which is for the best - the modest champion was never going to talk it up.

Yet Lockyer has arguably made just as many headlines over the years for his perceived faults.

Time and again he has been savaged by the critics - and time and again he has silenced them.

Switching from fullback to pivot in 2004 was too big an ask, the cynics warned.

He was too small - he'd get smashed, they said.

In a season he went from the world's best No.1 to the world's best No.6.

In 2006, Lockyer was dismissed as a defensive liability after missing 11 tackles in a 36-4 NRL season-opening loss to North Queensland.

His leadership was questioned.

That year Lockyer went on to lead Brisbane to the NRL title, Queensland to a drought-breaking Origin series win and Australia to Tri-Nations success - scoring the winning try in the final, no less.

In 2009, the knives came out again ahead of Origin II.

Once again he couldn't tackle.

Yet it was music to Queensland coach Mal Meninga's ears.

"It's good that everyone is bagging Darren, to be honest with you," he said at the time.

"I am anticipating Darren going out there and proving all those critics wrong - once again.

"Keep criticising him, I would be pretty happy with that."

History shows Lockyer not only went to help Queensland clinch a then-record fourth straight Origin series win - he chimed into No.5 last year too.

Perhaps it is because of the criticism that Andrew Johns has been ordained the next Immortal by some experts.

Sure the halfback enjoyed a glittering career, winning two titles.

But Lockyer has four.

And that feat may pale in comparison to the rest of his resume if all goes to plan in his final season.

NRL, Origin and Test records loom.

Maybe then he will get the full recognition he deserves.

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