Lockyer Farewell Tour kicks off - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer Farewell Tour kicks off

Wayne Heming 05/08/2011 05:22:47 PM Comments (0)

The Darren Lockyer Farewell Tour kicks off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night with promoters still uncertain of the date for the final show of his record-breaking NRL career.

Lockyer plays game number 349 against the Warriors at the weekend, drawing level with Bulldogs great Terry Lamb and Manly star Steve Menzies for the most matches played.

He'll officially take his place in history at a packed Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville the following Friday night with Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston tipped to make it a very special night by returning from injury to play against his Queensland and Australian captain.

It will complete rugby league's "grand slam" for Lockyer - who'll bow out with the most Tests (56) most Origins (36) and, barring injury, the most NRL games among his many achievements.

Even if Manly official Peter Peters thinks it's not enough, it's the kind of stuff immortals are made of.

With Brisbane seemingly finals bound, after missing the end-of-season action last year for the first time since 1991, Lockyer's NRL career could end on 354 games if they're knocked out in week one or 356 or 357 should they set up a fairytale finish in the grand final in Sydney on October 2.

No matter where you turn in the next eight weeks, Lockyer's farewell will be in the news.

"That's going to be here every week; it's Locky's last season, Locky's last Origin, Locky's last game, Locky breaking the record," said rookie coach Anthony Griffin.

"Next week it'll be on again.

"We get asked the question every week, and we're going to be asked it every week until he's gone.

"If you're asking if we all like being around him at the moment then, yes, it's nice, you can feel that little bit of occasion about it."

Lockyer has handled his milestone games with a minimum of fuss during the season after announcing in late March that 2011 was going to be his 17th and last season.

But the next month will test him emotionally, especially with host broadcasters Channel 9 recently agreeing to public appeals to re-schedule his round 26 clash with Manly from Friday night to Sunday afternoon so more than 50,000 fans can give him a massive Suncorp Stadium farewell party.

Lockyer kept his emotions together well during his Origin send off last month, although it hit him several hours later that he's played his last game for Queensland.

The daily hype and attention engulfing him is only going to intensify in the coming weeks as the end draws closer.

Griffin did his best to stick to the script when asked if he felt privileged to be coaching Lockyer in his last season.

"I do," he said.

"It's a privilege just to be coaching this club and to be here when one of the greats of the club is coming to the end of his career.

"I think all of us feel privileged."

Lockyer has made it clear many times 2011 is not about him and that he doesn't want the players thinking that way.

But the likes of senior Broncos Corey Parker, Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday, who have been teammates for several seasons, and even youngsters such as Jharal Yow Yeh, who made his Test and Origin debut this year under him, want to see Lockyer sent off the way he deserves.

Hodges makes no secret he's driven as much by wanting to give Lockyer a winning send-off as anything else heading into the finals.

He's already shared two special wins with Lockyer this season at Test and Origin level.

A premiership would be the dream end.

"It's always a great honour playing with him and playing in the Test earlier this year and the third Origin," Hodges said this week.

"You couldn't ask for a better ending for a guy like that.

"For me to be a part of it when he runs out on Saturday and equals the record ... it's moments like this you cherish.

"When we're all old and fat later in life we can look back at the achievements we've done and know we got to play with one of the great players to ever play our game."

AAP wh/djw/bh

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news