Roo selectors to keep Lockyer at back - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roo selectors to keep Lockyer at back

By Brent Read 08/03/2004 08:38:53 PM Comments (0)

Australian rugby league selectors are set to stick with Darren Lockyer at fullback for the April Test against New Zealand, resisting the temptation to pair the world's two best players in the halves.

Lockyer, the incumbent Australian captain, will officially begin his new life in the No.6 jersey this weekend when the Broncos open their NRL premiership campaign against the New Zealand Warriors in Brisbane.

That move - and Queensland's decision to also consider Lockyer as a five-eighth - has thrown the spotlight on his future with the national side.

However, Test selectors indicated they were likely to retain the Brisbane playmaker in the No.1 jersey rather than name a dream halves pairing of Lockyer and Andrew Johns for the April 23 clash with the Kiwis.

"He's the best fullback in the world," national selector Bob McCarthy said.

"I'd prefer to have him fresh back at fullback rather than having those big Kiwi forwards running at him.

"We might just leave him there for the time being."

With good reason.

Lockyer, who has played 20 Tests and been a fixture in the Australian side since 1998, is widely regarded as the best fullback of his generation.

That reputation was only enhanced by his performance on the Kangaroo tour, where he led an understrength national side to a 3-0 series win over Great Britain.

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