Locky the maestro
It is not often that one player takes over NRL.com but in the case of Darren Lockyer, we were prepared to make an exception. On the eve of Lockyer becoming the only player to rack up 350 first grade games, I’m left wondering if the record books will fully reflect the genius of the kid from Roma.
The dream of any Rugby League player is to win a Premiership, most never achieve the feat. Locky has four, including a Clive Churchill medal for best on field during the 2000 Grand Final.
Individually he has been voted the world’s best player in two different positions (fullback and five-eighth). That alone is a remarkable achievement, but that is only the start of Lockyer’s records.
While this week is all about celebrating his efforts in the Telstra Premiership, you can’t help but look at his representative records to boot.
State of Origin? He might not have dominated the arena like Wally Lewis, but I would argue he has been just as influential in the Maroons jersey winning six series and four man-of-the-match awards.
Then there is his stellar Test record that reads like Rugby League royalty. Most appearances (55 and counting), most tries for Kangaroos (34), most appearances as captain, World Cup, Four Nations, Tri Nations, you name it, Lockyer has won it.
And now the record books will show that he is the most capped player in one of the world’s toughest leagues. But the record books can only show so much.
The stats don’t show his influence on a team both on and off the field, his humble nature or the fact he is one of the most respected players in the game. They don’t show his influence on the younger generation and that just might be his ultimate legacy when he hangs up the boots at the end of this season.
So after 17 seasons, his glittering career reaches another milestone, surpassing Terry Lamb and Steve Menzies as the most capped first-grader. And in typical Lockyer fashion, the man in the No.6 jersey is almost embarrassed by the accolades being thrown at him.
"In the context of the table it is a big game as it is," he told Bronco TV.
"The 350 thing is a milestone I will reflect on when the season is over.
"We are going up there to perform as best we can and try and get the two points."
For Lockyer it has never been about himself, it has always been about the team, the next game and chasing another Premiership.
Congratulations Darren Lockyer.
DID YOU KNOW?
- There have been 92 fewer video referee decisions this year compared with 2010.
- Darren Lockyer has over 200 try assists in the NRL.
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MATCH CENTRE – ROUND 23
Get all the team lists, head-to-head stats and our match previews in the match centre. Plus live stats and scores, match highlights and much much more!
Ins and Outs – Okay, you have the team list, but who is missing, and who didn’t play last week? (Spoiler alert - Johnathan Thurston is back!)
Casualty Ward – When players were injured and when they are due back.
THIS WEEK ON NRL.com
Official View: There have been 92 less decisions sent to the video referee this year writes referees co-coach Stuart Raper.
NRL Mailbox: One Community Awards
Stats Insider: Darren Lockyer career by the numbers.
Sterling Gold: Peter Sterling looks at the man behind the numbers, his favourite movies, music and superstitions.
Inside Word: Melbourne are favourites to take out the title, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Of the 18 Minor Premiers to make the Grand Final, 11 have won.
Next Gen: Matt Russell looks at the young guns making their name in the competition and two clubs who are both on seven match winning streaks.
On the Road: Steve Mascord looks at how losses cut deep into the psyche of teams and can take a long time to overcome.
Coach's Box: Will Lockyer's legacy live on at the Broncos, askes Graham Murray.
In Touch: Ray ‘Rabbits’ Warren is comparable only to cricket’s Richie Benaud, formula one’s Murray Walker, and cycling’s Phil Liggett… each of them truly the voice of his sport, writes Leila McKinnon.
From the Mind of Middo: Darren Lockyer’s best 10 games according to Rugby League historian David Middleton.
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