Fans will get up close to hero Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fans will get up close to hero Lockyer

Wayne Heming 25/08/2011 04:20:59 PM Comments (0)

Stepping foot onto the Suncorp Stadium turf usually means a trip to court and a hefty fine.

Pitch invaders or streakers are run down by security staff and frog-marched off the ground in front of cheering fans before being dealt with by the law.

But in honour of retiring Broncos icon Darren Lockyer, thousands of fans will be allowed onto the famous Brisbane football ground on Father's Day next month as part of his unique farewell celebrations.

With the co-operation of both the Queensland government and Suncorp Stadium management, fans will be allowed onto the playing field after Lockyer's last home-and-away fixture for the club in his 17th and final season before retiring at year's end as the game's most decorated player.

"Everything is set for a wonderful day for the supporters attending the already sold-out match," said chief executive Paul White.

He said Brisbane had taken a lead from how Canterbury farewelled their champion goalkicking winger Hazem El Masri in 2009.

El Masri was sent off in style by an emotional crowd of over 74,000 - the biggest on record for a or a non-grand final game - despite the Bulldogs losing to Parramatta in a preliminary final.

"It worked very well and it was a unique event," said White.

Brisbane consulted the Bulldogs about how they organised El Masri's big day with fans and stadium staff.

It will be the first time since the 1980s when fans regularly swarmed onto Lang Park after games that the public have been allowed onto the historic ground.

"This will be a historic day for rugby league and we can think of no more fitting tribute to Darren than to allow the fans to be part of his official farewell on the very ground he has made so many of them happy," said White.

He said Lockyer was "very happy about his fans being able to be part of his special day.

"I spoke to him this morning (Thursday) and he's very comfortable with how the day is going to play out and happy that his fans will be able to also get involved," he said.

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