Lockyer named in Broncos line-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer named in Broncos line-up

By Ian McCullough 20/09/2011 07:44:16 PM Comments (0)

Darren Lockyer, as expected, has been named in the Brisbane side to face Manly in Friday's NRL preliminary final at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Despite having surgery to fix his smashed left cheekbone with three metal plates on Sunday morning, the Queensland and Australia captain has been selected at five-eighth but will decide whether to play on the day of the game.

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has named a five-man bench, with utility Matt Gillett to play in the halves should the 34-year-old opt to sit the game out.

In-form Brisbane, who have won their last eight games, welcome back Sam Thaiday from a two-match suspension, with Ben Te'o dropping to the bench.

Manly coach Des Hasler believes Brisbane will not risk Lockyer - and if he does line up against the Sea Eagles, he will be fit enough to do so.

"The Broncos are a very professional club, they know what they're doing and they will make the best decision - and so will Darren - for Darren and for the football team," Hasler told reporters on Tuesday.

"He's an inspirational player for them. I'm sure they'd like to have him out on the field. They've got to make that decision and I'm sure they'll make the correct one."

Hasler has no fresh injury concerns and kept faith in the same side that beat North Queensland 42-8 in the opening round of the finals, with backrower Glenn Stewart serving the final week of his three-game ban.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy named an eight-man interchange bench for his side's clash with the Warriors, with Beau Champion listed in the starting line-up in the centres.

Regular starting centre Maurice Blair is one of the eight players listed, after missing the win over Newcastle two weeks ago but will be given up until Thursday to prove his fitness and could start the game.

"He has come along well, but we need to assess him further and if he comes through a full contact session on Thursday, then he could be a chance to start," Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has made one change to the side that stunned Wests Tigers last week in Sydney with backrower Elijah Taylor replacing Ukuma Ta'ai on the bench.

The Warriors, along with Canberra, are the only team to beat the Storm at AAMI Park this year, but Cleary insists they are the benchmark team in the NRL.

"They've got three of the best players in the game and you always know you have to work so hard just to compete with them," he said.

"We were up against it facing the Tigers last week and the challenge will be that much greater this week."

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