Lockyer can hold his head high: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer can hold his head high: Smith

Steve Jancetic 23/09/2011 11:56:00 AM Comments (0)

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith claims Brisbane NRL skipper Darren Lockyer can look back on his Brisbane career with pride even if a fractured cheekbone means he never pulls on a Broncos jersey again.

Lockyer's decision to pull out of Friday night's preliminary final against Manly has left his NRL future in the hands of his teammates, who need to beat the Sea Eagles and advance to the grand final if the retiring playmaker is to have any chance of playing for the Broncos again.

After initially declaring his intention to play against Manly, just five days later having three plates inserted into his smashed left cheekbone, the 34-year-old on Wednesday heeded medical advice not to risk further injury.

However Smith - who will lead the Storm into battle in the other preliminary final against the Warriors on Saturday night - said Lockyer's Broncos legacy would not be tarnished if he did not get to play for the club again.

"It would be (unfortunate) for him to finish due to injury but that's part of the game - a lot of guys have ended their careers due to injury," Smith said.

"But I think he can hold his head high - he's had a magnificent career.

"He finished State of Origin with six series wins in a row and look at the game last week (against St George Illawarra). He pretty much put the Broncos into a preliminary final.

"He had a cheekbone injury, played on for a further 13 minutes and kicked the winning field goal - I'm sure he can be happy with that if that's his last game."

Smith said while the Sea Eagles would have the home-ground advantage at the Sydney Football Stadium, he would not write off the Broncos, even without Lockyer.

"The one thing I know about the Broncos, from experience, particularly in these big matches, is they don't go away," he said.

"If they're trailing by four or six points or two points, they'll push it to the end.

"More times than not, they tend to win those close games - I don't really know which way it will go."

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