Lockyer calls for Anzac Day Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer calls for Anzac Day Test

Steve Jancetic 05/05/2011 07:02:37 PM Comments (0)

Australian skipper Darren Lockyer has called for the mid-year Test against New Zealand to be shifted to Anzac Day to add gravitas to a concept struggling for significance in a crowded rugby league calendar.

Responding to calls that the annual clash should be moved to after the State of Origin series or even scrapped altogether for fear of player burnout, Lockyer said the match should instead be put on a pedestal.

"It's a great concept and one we should persevere with, but we all know as players (NRL officials have) their hands tied at the moment with the scheduling.

"But moving forward it can be done a little bit different.

"The Dragons play the Roosters - that was an Anzac Day game - there's no reason why you can't schedule this game in to be that game."

While St George Illawarra and the Sydney Roosters will not be keen to give up their annual blockbuster, Lockyer said something had to give to ensure international rugby league continued to thrive.

The Kangaroos veteran - playing his final mid-year international - suggested the City-Country game and the Test match could be held on a stand alone weekend, negating the need for NRL clubs to be shortchanged.

Lockyer's Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin has decided to rest all six of his representative players rather than have them back-up against Melbourne on Saturday night, while the Dragons will play on Sunday having had 10 players involved in a game less than 48 hours earlier.

"City-Country - it loses a bit of effect because of (the Test on the same night)," Lockyer said.

"It's one of those games in the calender that should remain there and make it more of a Friday night game and let's go and play some Test footy at daytime which as a kid growing up I used to love watching.

"At the moment the NRL's contracted to certain companies that dictate where they can schedule this and that ... we're going to the negotiating table soon and that's something that the players need to have a voice about."

Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney said he would love the opportunity to have a 10-day build-up to the Test like they do for Origin matches, but any attempt to move the game until after the Origin series will be met with stiff resistance by the New Zealand Rugby League, fearing Australia's squad will be match-hardened by the three-game interstate battle.

"It's hard enough playing Australia without them also going through the Origin process," NZRL chief executive Jim Doyle told NZPA.

Doyle said if the Test was moved to later in the year, the Kiwis should be given the same opportunity to prepare by playing against a composite side of Fijian, Samoan, Cook Islander and Tongan representatives.

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