Lockyer to ease Origin emotional pressure - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer to ease Origin emotional pressure

By Wayne Heming and Laine Clark 28/06/2011 07:01:04 PM Comments (0)

A composed Darren Lockyer intends to release the emotional pressure valve that has teammates nervous about letting him down in his 36th and last State of Origin game for Queensland next week.

Queensland coach Mal Meninga refused to fire up over the judiciary dramas which have cost giant South Sydney forward Dave Taylor a chance to play in Lockyer's farewell, saying he and his players would quickly deal with Lockyer's situation before getting down to business.

"We understand it is going to be a fairly emotional week with Darren but we'll just get on with the job," said Meninga, who was denied a fairytale ending in his 32nd and last Origin in the 1994 series decider.

An emotional tsunami is building behind Lockyer's farewell that could become an unwanted sideshow for the Maroons.

Lockyer, who'll lead the Maroons for the 22nd time, said he'd pull his troops together on Tuesday night to assure them he'd have no regrets - win, loss or draw on Wednesday night.

"I've got something I want to say to the boys to try and take the pressure off them," Lockyer told AAP.

Lockyer said in his experience, at least at NRL club level, when someone was celebrating their milestone game, their teammates often put themselves under more pressure trying to win so badly for the player.

Wednesday week's Suncorp Stadium sellout is already being billed as one of the biggest games in Origin history.

Much of that has to do with the fact it will be Lockyer's last Origin and that it's also a series decider, with NSW desperate to end a streak of five successive series losses since 2006.

The players, fans and most of Queensland are hoping Lockyer gets a fairytale ending like Wally Lewis in 1991.

Hooker Cameron Smith, who'll take over as captain in 2012, halfback Johnathan Thurston, who may yet wear Lockyer's No.6 jumper next year and veteran forward Petero Civoniceva agreed it would be impossible to escape the buzz surrounding their skipper's swansong.

"The boys feel so strongly for him, we want to make sure we have the best week possible to give us every opportunity to see him hold that shield up next Wednesday night," said Civoniceva, who refused to concede this would also be his last Origin.

"We all know what is at stake here and love working under him.

"He's been a tremendous skipper and a reason why this team has been so successful in the past.

"We will all want to send him off on the right note."

While Lockyer understands the bond his players feel with him after being together since 2006, he said they needed to win for themselves.

"The more emotion you put into it, sometimes it works against you," he said.

"But there's a challenge there - and I like a challenge."

Queensland named an 18-man squad on Tuesday which included the recall of centre Justin Hodges for his first Origin since game three of the 2009 series and Jacob Lillyman who comes in for the luckless Taylor.

Melbourne centre Dane Nielsen, who played in the first two games, is expected to drop out of the squad if Hodges and Greg Inglis confirm their fitness by the weekend.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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