Mini out to spoil Lockyer's farewell - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mini out to spoil Lockyer's farewell

Ian McCullough 02/07/2011 02:15:14 PM Comments (0)

Anthony Minichiello has labelled Darren Lockyer one of the three best players he's played with, but is desperate to ensure the Queensland great's State of Origin farewell will be a night to forget in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The NSW fullback, who played alongside Lockyer for Australia, said the Maroons skipper ranked alongside champion playmakers Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns and warned his Blues teammates not to get caught up in the hype that will surround the build-up to the game.

"He is awesome, an unreal player, I hold him up there with one of my favourite players to play with," Minichiello said.

"When you play around him you just want to hang alongside him because it shows you the way in terms of his leadership on the field and makes things happen at the right time ... he is always on the spot."

Minichiello played with Fittler at the Sydney Roosters and Johns for the Kangaroos and NSW, but said he was unable to split the three.

He admits the trio have made life easier for him at times during his career.

"They are the best players I have played with, as a fullback I used to hang around them and I guess I reaped the rewards," he said.

"They were alway two steps ahead of the play and just made things happen out of nothing.

"That is what Locky can do and it is down to us to not let him do that on Wednesday.

"Obviously it is going to be a tough job up there, Queensland want to send him out as a winner and our job is to not let them do that and we really want to win this game."

Minichiello revealed NSW coach Ricky Stuart has told his players what to expect ahead of what is certain to be an emotion-charged encounter at Suncorp Stadium.

Stuart played in Wally Lewis' farewell in 1991, where the Maroons edged out the Blues 14-12 to seal a 2-1 series win, and the 31-year-old says the coach is desperate for there not to be a repeat performance.

"Ricky has been there before and has told us about it and I think experience is pretty important for moments like this," he said.

"Experience is pretty important because you can share it with the other players in the group and try and not get caught up in the hype when we get to Brisbane.

"People are saying this is going to be the most watched Origin game in history and it is a real privilege to be involved.

"It is a tough ask with Locky's last game but we are confident we can win."

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