There'll be life after Lockyer: Civoniceva - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

There'll be life after Lockyer: Civoniceva

By Wayne Heming 12/06/2011 06:25:42 PM Comments (0)

Maroons' veteran Petero Civoniceva has reassured Queensland fans there'll be life after Darren Lockyer, as he and teammates plot to provide their champion skipper a fitting Origin farewell on Wednesday night in Sydney.

"It's obviously going to be a huge loss," said the long-serving forward on Lockyer's imminent retirement.

"But with the likes of Johnathan (Thurston) and Cameron (Smith), as a senior player watching them develop over the past five or six years, it's pretty awesome to see how they handle their football.

"They're more than capable of taking over from where Locky will leave off in terms of leadership. They'll be outstanding men to follow."

Lockyer's departure is set to leave a void for fans, similar to when legend Wally Lewis called it quits in 1991.

"I guess it was exactly the same back then. Everyone thought 'where do we go from here?'," Civoniceva said.

"But for this group, we can see the leaders ready to step up and ready to go.

"They've already been lightening Locky's load because they already play a key part in leading this team around the park."

Queensland need to withstand a desperate Blues at a packed ANZ Stadium next week, or secure a victory at Suncorp Stadium on July 6, to guarantee Lockyer goes out a winner.

Lockyer, who has so far avoided any fanfare surrounding his last series, has presided over Queensland's fortunes since June 10, 2001 when he took the captaincy reins from Gorden Tallis.

It was the series when Wayne Bennett pulled Origin's biggest shock, rushing his former champion Brisbane halfback Allan Langer back from the UK to play a key hand in the series decider, in which Lockyer scored two tries and was man of the match in a memorable 40-14 win.

Tallis and Lockyer split the captaincy in 2002/03 before a neck injury forced Tallis into early retirement.

After losing the 2003 and 2004 series, Lockyer's leadership qualities came under fire.

With Queensland down 1-0 after blowing a good lead to lose game one 17-16 in 2005 - to be looking at four successive series losses - there were calls for Lockyer to step down.

Queensland selectors, though, kept faith with their under-siege skipper, giving him a record 10 rookies to turn things around.

Lockyer delivered, winning the last two games to silence his critics again.

Greg Inglis, Karmichael Hunt, Nate Myles, Dallas Johnson, Matt Scott and Sam Thaiday were among the players blooded in 2006.

Canberra winger Adam Mogg also featured, answering knockers who doubted his selection with two tries, as the Maroons squared the series 30-6 in front of 52,468 fans in Brisbane.

Looking ahead to Origin II on Wednesday, Civoniceva said NSW's innovative pack, assembled by coach Ricky Stuart, had Queensland's respect.

"It's high energy, high speed, quick play the balls. That's what they're after and it's an attacking forward pack," said the veteran Penrith prop.

"We had some issues defensively in game one and, if they arise again, we're going to find ourselves in trouble.

"(Anthony) Watmough, Luke Lewis coming off the bench, they're going to be very dangerous turning the ball back inside and coming back in through the ruck."

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