Losing, not Bennett, Lockyer's big fear - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Losing, not Bennett, Lockyer's big fear

Wayne Heming And Steve Jancetic 12/09/2011 04:57:41 PM Comments (0)

Fear of losing rather than trepidation going up against mentor Wayne Bennett will drive Brisbane captain Darren Lockyer in Saturday night's NRL semi-final against St George Illawarra.

In a classic sudden-death showdown, the two men whose careers were for so long intertwined find themselves on opposite sides - Lockyer leading his youthful side onto Suncorp Stadium for the final time and Bennett up in the coach's box plotting his downfall.

But as he approaches the end of his glittering playing career, Lockyer admits fear of failure remains a constant.

"Every time I go to a game I always have that fear of losing or a sense of failure," Lockyer told AAP on Monday.

"You always have that fear of losing but you always have that confidence of winning.

"You never want to come off the field thinking you could have done more or given more."

While he accepts his NRL career could be over as soon as Saturday, Lockyer was wary of letting emotion detract from his preparation.

"I'm sure there'll be moments through the week where I'll be thinking about how it might be if we don't get the performance we need," he said.

"But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

"Hopefully that's still a few weeks away."

Masterminding Lockyer's NRL career end isn't a scenario Bennett would look forward to, but Dragons hooker Nathan Fien said he hadn't noticed anything different in the veteran coach's preparation.

Bennett has enough on his plate trying to get his premiers back on track following Friday night's disappointing qualifying final loss to Wests Tigers.

"It's business as usual for Wayne," Fien said.

"The way we trained this morning he's definitely focused on his job this week and he's riding us really hard.

"For us, we can't get caught up in all that stuff; sure it's a knockout semi-final but we've got to get on with out own jobs.

"It could be Darren's last game, it could be our last game - we're just focused on what we have to do as the Dragons to turn our performance from Friday night around."

While the Dragons have a wealth of experienced players Bennett can turn to, Lockyer said the performance of Brisbane's many finals rookies had given him confidence they would not be overawed by Saturday night's big occasion.

Without injured fullback Josh Hoffman and suspended forward leader Sam Thaiday, who will miss the clash with the Dragons, Brisbane fielded eight players who had not played in an NRL final against the Warriors last weekend.

"Those young guys have been fantastic," Lockyer said.

"What I found really positive was even after this disappointment of Josh's injury and Sam's suspension we just got on with the job.

"There wasn't this white elephant in the room.

"The boys were just enjoying what they were doing and I'm sure they'll enjoy the preparation going into this game.

"It's now do or die, there's no tomorrow.

"If you don't back up your performances, it could all end very quickly."

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