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Darren's dazzlers: Lockyer names his greatest Maroons side

Queensland rugby league legend Darren Lockyer has picked his all-time Maroons side to celebrate 40 years of State of Origin, giving a massive compliment to former skipper Cameron Smith who he was "lucky" to play with.

Lockyer, a captain of five Queensland winning Origin sides, lauded Smith for making his job easier during the early years of Queensland's golden era.

The pair were Maroons teammates between 2003 and 2011, going on to win a total of five Origin series beginning in 2006 before Lockyer ultimately retired from the game in 2011. Smith the following year would become the permanent captain of the squad.

Lockyer said he simply "felt lucky" every time he played alongside the Queensland hooker.

"From my perspective, having someone like Cameron there – I felt lucky.

"He had great leadership qualities from a young age.

"To play the amount of games (42) he did and to have the record is amazing."

Unsurprisingly Lockyer picked Billy Slater to wear the No.1 jersey while naming Greg Inglis and Mal Meninga in the centres. Wendell Sailor and Dale Shearer were both named on the wings.

Legends pick their greatest State of Origin player

In the halves, Lockyer went with Johnathan Thurston and Wally Lewis.

Lockyer said Lewis, "The King", was the greatest player he's ever seen.

"Eight Man of the Matches!" he said.

"He wanted to own that stage. He wanted the football in key moments, and he delivered.

"A special player and the best I've ever seen."

But what might come as a surprise to some, Lockyer opted to leave fellow playmaker Cooper Cronk out his squad.

Unlike former teammate Thurston who put Cronk on the interchange in his all-time squad, the former Maroons fullback and five-eighth elected to go with Allan Langer.

"A game-breaker and a winner," Lockyer said of Langer.

"When the game was is in the balance, he wanted the football and inevitably got the result for us."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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