Bird doesn't ruffle Lockyer feathers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bird doesn't ruffle Lockyer feathers

Laine Clark 18/05/2011 05:20:25 PM Comments (0)

At 35, Darren Lockyer admits he is no spring chicken.

But NSW hitman Greg Bird's threats ahead of next week's State of Origin opener have not ruffled his feathers.

Every game Lockyer says he runs out with a target on his head.

And while he may be nearing retirement, Lockyer did not expect any favours from NSW in his final Origin series.

No wonder Lockyer was hardly fazed after Bird wasted no time singling out the outgoing Maroons skipper ahead of May 25's opener.

"Even before Greg said anything I knew that was going to be the case," Lockyer said.

"That is how Birdy likes to play on the fringes and he is hard to contain - I am expecting plenty of traffic.

"Origin encounters are always physical. You pull up pretty sore by the 80th minute - I am not treating this any different."

Lockyer will equal Allan Langer's record for Origin games played when he runs out for No.34 in Brisbane next Wednesday.

Another year older and wiser, Lockyer said he would be ready for whatever NSW dished up.

"It is part of today's game - you run a lot of traffic at the halves, try to tire them out so they don't have as much in attack," Lockyer said.

"That's just a common gameplan for a lot of teams.

"Greg Bird runs the ball really strong on both edges. Myself and Johnno (halfback Johnathan Thurston) go into every Origin expecting traffic."

Bird also believed Queensland would find it harder to hide Lockyer in defence with debutant Dane Nielsen by his side.

If Lockyer was worried, he didn't show it on Wednesday.

"They will have a gameplan and I am sure they will want to carry that out best they can," he said.

"I am just going to prepare myself and the guys around me that we need to be ready to go on Wednesday because there is a very high chance we are going to have some traffic."

Lockyer seemed more concerned about NSW's attack rather than its defence on Wednesday.

"At any Origin you look at the opposition and some of their strengths," he said.

"The kicking game with (Michael) Ennis out of dummy half, (halfback Mitchell) Pearce and (Jamie) Soward are also very capable, and (rookie fullback Josh) Dugan brings the ball back very well.

"Then you have (winger) Akuila) Uate on the wing - they have powerful runners.

"We have to be good on the kick chase department and make sure they don't get too much momentum.

"If we are giving them any space bringing the ball back we are going to get hurt."

Queensland will be primed to send Lockyer out a winner as they vie for a record six straight series wins.

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