Club points

Darren Lockyer

Darren Lockyer (born 24 March 1977 in Brisbane, Queensland) is an Australian professional rugby league player and current captain of the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos sides. Widely considered one of the finest players in the modern game, Lockyer has played more games and scored more points for the Brisbane Broncos than any other player in the club's history.

Lockyer currently plays in the five-eighth position, having moved there from his previous position of fullback in 2004. Upon switching positions, Lockyer endured heavy criticism, but responded in 2006 with arguably his finest ever season, becoming the first person since Allan Langer (a former teammate) to captain winning teams in the National Rugby League premiership, the State of Origin series, and the Tri-Nations series all in the same year. Lockyer also became only the second player to have won the golden boot award twice.

Career

Early Years

As a child, Lockyer played Australian rules football in Brisbane before his parents moved west to Roma, Queensland, a rugby league town that had no local Aussie Rules clubs. Having started his football career in Roma, playing for the Cities Gladiators, Lockyer made his first grade debut with the Broncos as an eighteen year-old five-eighth in 1995, winning the club's rookie of the year award. Lockyer quickly showed his versatility in the centres and at fullback, proving himself as a creative attacking player, a safe defender under the high ball and a skilled goal-kicker.

Fullback

Lockyer was moved permanently to fullback at the beginning of the 1997 season. He first gained representative honours in 1997 for Queensland at fullback in their second Super League Tri-series match against New South Wales. Lockyer's try-scoring and goal-kicking ability made him the top point-scorer for the Broncos in 1997 as he went on to play in the club's Grand Final-winning team that year.

In 1998 Lockyer became the regular Queensland Maroons' fullback for the State of Origin and also made his debut for the Kangaroos. He was again top point-scorer for Brisbane that year, breaking the club record for most points in a season, and again played at fullback in the Broncos' premiership-winning team at the end of the 1998 season.

In 2000, Lockyer won another premiership with Brisbane and was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for best and fairest player on the field in the Broncos' Grand Final win. Also that year he received the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in the sport of rugby league and played in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup-winning Kangaroos side.

Following Queensland skipper Gorden Tallis' season-ending neck injury before the second game of the 2001 State of Origin series, the Maroons' captaincy was handed to Lockyer. In the third and deciding game of the series, Lockyer was named man-of-the-match, scoring two tries and kicking four goals to help Queensland to victory.

Along with Lote Tuqiri and Chris Walker, Lockyer was the Broncos' top try-scorer in the 2002 season and won the club's player of the year award for both the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He also won his first RLIF Golden Boot Award for the world's best international rugby league player in 2003. In addition, with the retirement of Tallis from representative football that year, Lockyer became the captain of both the Queensland and Australian teams.

Lockyer gained some negative media attention at the start of the 2004 season when he made a careless joke about the Bulldogs gang rape allegation at a Queensland sports function. Being the Australian captain, Lockyer was rebuked by national officials and quickly apologised for the comment.

Five-eighth

In 2004, Broncos' coach Wayne Bennett moved Lockyer, then established as the world's best fullback, to the five-eighth position. This move saw mixed results for Lockyer. Initially, the move was generally supported, due to Lockyer's standing as a playmaker and on-field leader. However, as the season progressed, criticism developed that the defensive workload required at five-eighth was too large for him and that he should move back to his old position of fullback. In spite of this, Lockyer successfully gained the five-eighth position for, and retained the captaincy of both the Queensland and Australian sides.

With Gorden Tallis' retirement at the end of the previous season, the Broncos' captaincy was passed onto Darren Lockyer in 2005. In 2005 Lockyer was also the Broncos' top point-scorer, however experienced rugby league commentators continued questioning Lockyer's value as a five-eighth during representative matches.

2006

After a poor start to the 2006 season following a 36-4 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in Round 1, several critics argued that Lockyer should either switch to fullback or lose his spot on both the Australian and Queensland squad. There were also rumours that Johnathan Thurston would be chosen as the Queensland five-eighth, with Scott Prince at halfback.

However, after the ANZAC Test, in which Lockyer scored two tries in Australia's 50-12 defeat of New Zealand, the critics eased off. Lockyer's performances in the five-eighth position improved greatly in the weeks leading up to Origin, resulting in his selection as five-eighth and Captain for Origin 1.

Lockyer underwent further criticism when the Maroons lost to the Blues 17-16 after a poor first half. His position was again debated, but strong performances against the Bulldogs and the Warriors resulted in his retention in the Queensland side. Queensland then made an impressive comeback in Origin 2, thumping the Blues 30-6 while Lockyer received the Man of the Match award. He was then responsible for sealing the series victory for Queensland in the deciding match. With Queensland down 14-10 with 5 minutes remaining, Lockyer intercepted a pass from NSW player Brett Hodgson and scored the match-winning try. It was Queensland's first outright series victory since 2001 and also stopped New South Wales' from achieving their 4th consecutive Origin series win. After the match, Lockyer received the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series.

Immediately after Queensland's State of Origin success, the Broncos entered a 5-game losing streak, but bounced back to comfortably win their final three premiership games of the season. Despite losing to the St George Illawarra Dragons in the first week of the finals, the Broncos rebounded to defeat the Newcastle Knights 50-6. They then won the preliminary final against the Bulldogs 37-20 after trailing 20-6 at half-time, with Lockyer named man of the match. He then steered his team to win the 2006 Grand Final 15-8, setting up both tries and then kicking a winning field goal in the 73rd minute. This was Lockyer's fourth premiership (first as captain), and the Broncos' sixth. Lockyer was also the Broncos' top try-scorer (together with Tame Tupou) for the 2006 season.

Lockyer then captained Australia to an extra-time victory in the Tri-nations final against New Zealand, scoring the match-winning try in Australia's 16-12 victory. In the process, he became the top try-scorer in Tri-Nations history with a tally of 9 tries.

In the week leading to the final, Lockyer won the RLIF Golden Boot Award for the second time. Lockyer was also named Dally M five-eighth and representative player of the year, the Broncos' best back, and people's choice player of the year, as well as being a finalist in the Queensland Sports Star of the Year award.

2007

The Broncos, under Lockyer, lost the 2007 World Club Challenge to St Helens. This remains the only major trophy that has eluded him since 1997. In round 1 of the 2007 NRL season, Lockyer injured his right ankle and was initially ruled out for 6 weeks. However, a fortnight later in Round 3, he made a surprise comeback for the Broncos against the Penrith Panthers. Lockyer injured his ankle again in Round 9 against the Sharks but he recovered in time to play in State of Origin 1 and defeat the New South Wales Blues.

In the Round 18 match against North Queensland, Lockyer ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, with the severity of the injury forcing him out for the rest of the 2007 season. He was scheduled to return for the March pre season games in 2008.

Lockyer is contracted to the Broncos until the end of 2009.

Darren Lockyer has admitted he is more interested than ever in playing in Super League after watching the 2007 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

2008

Lockyer has been strongly linked with a move to the European Super League at the conclusion of the 2008 NRL season. Darren Lockyer has admitted he would like to play in Super League before he retires. He has been linked with a move to Bradford Bulls and Catalans Dragons. Lockyer stated of his desire to move in the future, "Not just playing here but living in a different culture - it's appealing." He admits he had his appetite for a stint in Britain whetted by the Challenge Cup final and that he would be open to offers from Super League clubs for his swansong. It has since been confirmed by his manager George Mimis that up to six Super League clubs are hoping to lure Darren Lockyer to England, with London based Harlequins Rugby League said to be early front-runners for the Australian captain's signature. He has also been linked with Hull KR.

Following confirmation that coach Wayne Bennett will leave the Broncos at the end of 2008 has seen Lockyer linked with a number of clubs.

He has been strongly linked with Wigan Warriors as a replacement for Trent Barrett, who is linked with a return to the NRL.

A troublesome knee injury resulted in surgery which kept Lockyer off the field for much of the first half of the 2008 season.

In August 2008, Lockyer was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, and in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad.

Personal life

On 27 October, 2007, Lockyer married Loren Pollock, his girlfriend of three years, coincidentally on the same day his immediate predecessor as Australian Test captain, Andrew Johns also tied the knot.

Honours / Career Highlights

In February 2008, Lockyer was named in a list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia, the only current player to make the list.

Brisbane Broncos

  • First Grade Debut v Eels Round 13, 1995 (Broncos won 60-14).
  • Club Rookie of the Year 1995
  • Member of the 1997 Super League World Club Challenge winning Broncos side (Broncos defeated Hunter Mariners 36-12).
  • Member of the 3rd Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 1997 (Broncos defeated Sharks 26-8, Lockyer scored 5 goals; 10 points).
  • Most points in one season: 272 in 1998
  • Member of the 4th Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 1998 (Broncos defeated Bulldogs 38-12, Lockyer scored 5 goals; 10 points).
  • Member of the 5th Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 2000 (Broncos defeated Roosters 14-6)
  • Clive Churchill Medal Winner 2000
  • Club Player of the Year 2002,2003
  • Changed Position from Fullback to Five-Eighth at start of 2004 at request of Wayne Bennett
  • Captain 2005-present
  • Dally M. Medal Five-Eighth of the Year 2006
  • Dally M. Medal Representitive Player of the Year 2006
  • Highest Ever Brisbane Point-Scorer with 1,220 Club Points (as of End of 2007 Season)
  • Club Best Back Award 2001,2002,2003,2006
  • Member of the 6th Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 2006 and also Captain (Broncos defeated Storm 15-8, Lockyer scored 2 goals and 1 field goal).
  • Highest capped Broncos player
  • Dally M. Medal Five-Eighth of the Year 2007

Apps Tries Goals F/G Points Correct to
303 111 341/415 17 1,143 September 20 2008

Queensland Maroons

(Correct to July 5 2007)

  • Played in 27 State of Origin Games
  • Man of the Match 3 times
  • Played 2 Tri-Series Matches for Queensland during the 1997 Super League Season (1 goal; 2 points)
  • Captained in 13 State of Origin Games
  • Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series, 2006
  • 7 Tries from 27 Games
  • 22 from 30 Goals from 27 Games
  • 1 Field Goal from 27 Games
  • 73 Points from 27 Games
  • Part of the Series Winning Sides in 1998, 2001, 2006 and 2007 (also drawn series in 1999 and 2002)
  • Captain of the Series Winning Sides in 2001, 2006 and 2007

Apps Tries Goals F/G Points Correct to
27 7 22/30 1 73 4 July 2007

Australian Kangaroos

  • 36 Test Matches for Australia
  • Played in 4 test matches during the 1997 Super League Season (2 tries; 2 goals; 1 field goal; 13 points)
  • Australian Kangaroos Captain 2003-present (20 of his 36 games as captain)
  • 27 Tries
  • 2nd Highest Kangaroos try-Scorer behind Ken Irvine (33 tries).
  • 5 World Cup Matches for Australia
  • 2 Tries and 4 Goals in World Cup Matches
  • Golden Boot Award for International Player of the Year 2003
  • Golden Boot Award for International Player of the Year 2006

Apps Tries Goals F/G Points Correct to
36 27 27 2 164 20 April 2007

References

External links



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