Lockyer confident Broncos can topple Manly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer confident Broncos can topple Manly

By Ian McCullough 21/09/2011 04:45:07 PM Comments (0)

After withdrawing from Brisbane's NRL preliminary final clash with Manly to prevent further distractions to his team, Darren Lockyer is confident his side will reach next Sunday's grand final.

Lockyer announced to a huge media scrum at the Broncos' hotel in Bondi, including one over-eager radio journalist who almost pushed his microphone straight into Australia's most talked about cheekbone, that he would sit Friday's game out.

The 34-year-old Queensland and Australia skipper was hopeful the injury he sustained in the 13-12 win over St George Illawarra last Saturday would recover in time, following surgery on Sunday morning.

Expectations north of the Tweed rose that Lockyer would play after he trained with his team-mates on Tuesday.

However, after mulling over the decision overnight following his dramatic arrival in Sydney on a chartered helicopter, the champion five-eighth withdrew from the game.

"We've got one more training session left and while I had a run yesterday I didn't do any contact work and it is about feeling confident to make a tackle or being in a collision situation and I didn't have enough time to find that confidence," Lockyer said.

The subject of Lockyer's left cheekbone has dominated the build-up to the game.

Surgeons, doctors and former players have all expressed their opinions on whether Lockyer, should, could or would take the field against the Sea Eagles, and Lockyer said the constant discussion was unfair on the team.

"The hard part has been all the speculation, it is a pretty young team and they need all the support they can get," he said.

"I got down here and just realised today that I am not quite ready.

"We're two days away from the game, I just started thinking about it, I was operated on on Sunday and playing five days later - it's just too soon.

"A lot of emotions have gone through my head over the last 48 hours but I just felt with all the speculation the team needed to get on with the job in hand."

Should the Broncos fail to overcome Manly, it would signal the end of Lockyer's glittering NRL career but he is confident his team will allow him the opportunity to win a fifth premiership next Sunday.

"I'll put my hand up now that if we're alive next week I'll be playing," said Lockyer.

"If we get the result on Friday we've got another nine days till the grand final.

"Next week the fracture won't be completely healed but I'll be in a lot better shape physically and mentally to play.

"But if it is the end ... that's the way footy works sometimes, it was unfortunate that I fractured my cheekbone last week, but it is what it is, I can't change it."

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