Darren Lockyer’s three year search for his missing pace is over. Lockyer will confirm he is faster than he’s been since blowing out his anterior cruciate in 2007 when Brisbane hold their speed trials at Red Hill on Tuesday morning. The knee injury, coming off Lockyer’s best ever season in 2006, knocked his confidence around. But his class and determination helped him play on at the highest level without the full strength and power in his right leg. He now believes the hard work he’s put in to restoring strength and flexibility in his injured leg over the past few years is about to pay off. “Yeah, for the first time since my reco (knee reconstruction) in ’07 it’s the best the leg has felt,” said Lockyer after an impressive trial comeback against Melbourne at Redcliffe on Saturday night. “It’s helping my zip off the mark. “In the position I play it can make a big difference, it helps immensely. “It gives you more confidence to run the ball a bit more and push through the holes. “I can notice it at training, pushing into holes more.” Lockyer’s assessment is great news for Brisbane officials hoping their inspirational skipper can stretch his record-breaking career another season or two to help guide the new batch of young Broncos into the NRL. Brisbane do not release individual data on their players. But Lockyer already knows his sprint times are back to the levels he had before the knee injury he suffered against the Cowboys in round 17 of 2007. “It (the leg) is still not the same size as the other one, but it’s getting stronger” said Lockyer. Brisbane’s former performance director, Dean Benton, who has worked with many top athletes, said Lockyer was so dedicated he improved his sprint time by one metre over 20 metres when they worked together during the 2010 pre-season. “With an ACL injury you lose knee flexion and that affects the speed of your recovery leg,” said Benton. “Locky never lostthe ability to accelerate quickly, he lost the flexion which allowed him to run at top speed. “We worked on getting that back at the start of 2010 and he got quicker. “For a guy at 32 years of age to improve a metre over 20 metres, that’s a big deal. “It’s a real tribute to him as an athlete.” New coach Anthony Griffin, who’s been at the club since 2008, said Lockyer’s improvement had not gone unnoticed at training. “The last week or two at training the way he’s been moving at training has caught our eye,” said Griffin. “He just seems to have a bit more speed in him, he’s better than I’ve seen him since I’ve been at the club.” Brisbane head into their NRL season opener against the Cowboys on Friday week full of confidence after three impressive trial wins. Griffin will name his 17-man squad on Tuesday which is expected to include rookie winger Dane Gagai.

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