NRL stats go against Lockyer-less Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL stats go against Lockyer-less Broncos

By Ian McCullough 21/09/2011 06:19:41 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane must overcome an appalling record without Darren Lockyer if they are to beat Manly in Friday's NRL preliminary final at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Broncos skipper ruled himself out of the game on Wednesday following surgery to repair his shattered left cheekbone on Sunday morning.

Lockyer had hoped to take the field against the Sea Eagles following a successful non-contact session with his team-mates on Tuesday.

But he decided he needed more time to recover from the injury sustained against St George Illawarra last weekend.

The 34-year-old expressed confidence his side could get the job done without him, allowing him the chance to play his last game for the club in the grand final on October 2.

However, the Broncos must halt an alarming record in matches where they have not been able to call on their talismanic skipper.

Brisbane are used to playing without Lockyer and a host of star players due to State of Origin commitments.

However, when he's been unavailable outside of the representative season, the Broncos have won just 12 of 42 games since 1996.

They have tasted defeat 27 times and drawn on three occasions to register an overall success rate of just 28.6 per cent.

With Lockyer in the side, the Broncos have a 66.8 per cent winning record - underlining his importance.

The Queensland and Australia skipper's place is likely to be taken by exciting young utility Matt Gillett, who has impressed playing at centre and in the backrow, but has never started a game in the halves at NRL level.

However, Lockyer believes his side, who have won eight successive games, can continue their red-hot form, and said it wasn't all about winning the game for his benefit.

"They do it for themselves, they do it for each other, that's what we've done all year. It's never been about me," Lockyer said.

"It's my last year and I'd love to finish on the highest note possible, but the boys will go out there, there is a really good vibe in the team, they can still play well without me."

He also backed Gillett to prove himself to be an able deputy and said there was enough talent in the side, with captain-elect and NRL backrower of the year Sam Thaiday returning following a two-match suspension.

"He's a great player Matt Gillett, the whole team's been playing well, they've all been doing their jobs and that's what's been the real impressive thing with this team this year, so I don't expect that to change one bit on Friday," he said.

Lockyer informed his family of his decision before telling his teammates and said he had the full backing of both.

"The players were good, they knew it was a 50-50 thing, I told them today what my decision was and they are getting on with it and there is a good feeling," he said.

"I told family earlier and they were going to support me either way, that has been the general consensus, I appreciate them for all the support and text messages they have sent me, but now the decision is made we can move on."

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