Tag Archive: Darren Lockyer

Lockyer regains pace

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. Continue reading

Lockyer dons the Bronc for first time in 2011

Brisbane skipper Darren Lockyer will wear the Broncos jersey for the first time in 2011 after being named in a strong side to meet Melbourne Storm in Saturday night’s NRL trial at Redcliffe. New Broncos coach Anthony Griffin on Wednesday named his first team two days after Ivan Henjak’s controversial dumping, and chose to rest four of his biggest forwards. While Brisbane’s backline will be at full strength against a strong Storm outfit, Queensland forwards Sam Thaiday and Ben Hannant, plus Nick Kenny and Mitchell Dodds have been rested. “We will give Sam and Ben a rest this weekend but they will be right for round one,” Griffin told the Broncos website. “Nick Kenny is the same, as is Mitchell Dodds. “This gives the other guys a chance to show what they can do. Continue reading

Hodges back Just in time for Broncs ’11 campaign

Nervous but pumped, Justin Hodges has promised to unleash the “full package” in his long-awaited playing comeback for Brisbane in Saturday night’s pre-season trial against the Cowboys in Alice Springs. The former Queensland and Australian centre’s last game of rugby league was the preliminary final against Melbourne in September 2009. A ruptured achilles tendon suffered during pre-season training kept him off the field for the whole of 2010. Brisbane weren’t the same side without Hodges who is one those players who has a presence on the field at any level. Two kilos heavier, refreshed and free of any judiciary baggage (carry over points and loading), Hodges said he was “busting” to play again. And he said the big sidestep, the fend, the aggression and the abrasiveness he liked to rub opponents with were all still there. “They’re all still there, especially the aggression … I think it’s got even worse. Continue reading

Broncos will be without Lockyer for another week

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak will today make the bold move to bench injured star Darren Lockyer for the high-stakes Friday night clash against the Warriors. Henjak last night revealed he has told Lockyer he does not want to risk his injured ribs in Auckland this Friday night, and that the Broncos skipper may remain in cottonwool until the finals – should the Broncos qualify. While it will pain him to again not lead his own troops into battle, the veteran general has been told the best way he can serve them is to nurse his injured rib cartilage back to full health for a potential post-season title run. “In his head, he wants to play,” Henjak said. “(But) . . . it would hurt him and it would hurt the team if he is not right. Yesterday, hooker Andrew McCullough moved to ease the pressure on his skipper, declaring self-belief had not been dented by back-to-back losses to Newcastle and Parramatta. “We certainly do back ourselves, we’ve got some good players who can fill in any position there,” McCullough said. “Benny Hunt can play in the halves, there’s Corey Norman, Matty Gillett has done a great job for us this year. “With the players we’ve got we’re going to try hard for each other and we’re going to bounce back from where we have been, with or without Locky.” In a major boost, key forward Matt Gillett is free to play after his lifting tackle on Knight Zeb Taia escaped censure.

Bronco’s stables update

Brisbane’s teetering finals hopes have been dealt another blow with the revelation that star centre Justin Hodges fears his season is over. As injured Broncos skipper Darren Lockyer races the clock to be fit before the play-offs, Hodges conceded there was almost no hope of appearing this season after aborting a proposed comeback for Brisbane’s round 25 clash against the Warriors on Friday week. With Brisbane’s title prospects plunged into disarray by Lockyer’s rib problem, Broncos coach Ivan Henjak was hopeful the return of Queensland Origin ace Hodges on the eve of the finals would reinvigorate his star-studded squad. But a crestfallen Hodges admitted he is at long odds to return and he will put a red line through 2010 if he cannot prove his fitness for the Broncos’ final-round clash against the Raiders on September 3. “I’d say I won’t play again this year,” said Hodges, who just a fortnight ago was eyeing his much-awaited comeback. “I’m hoping to get back by Canberra, if I’m not back by then I will look to next year. However, the outlook for Lockyer was far more optimistic with the 33-year-old skipper turning up at Broncos training yesterday. However, while he told coach Henjak he was “feeling better” he didn’t indicate just when he thought he’d play again following reports he would not get back on the field this season. “Locky had a bit of a run and a kick this morning (Wednesday),” said Henjak. “He said he was going to try and ramp things up a bit next week and see how it feels. He knows he’s body, he’s been playing long enough and he’s had ribs before so he knows what it’s all about. I trust his judgment on that.”

Bronco’s saddle up for finals, without Lockyer?

Coach Ivan Henjak concedes Brisbane could be forced to play their way into a 19th successive NRL finals campaign the hard way without inspirational skipper Darren Lockyer and strike centre Justin Hodges. Henjak is preparing for the absolute worse case scenario that Lockyer’s rib cartilage injury could stop him playing again in 2010. “If we’re going to make it (finals) we’re going to have to do it the tough way,” Henjak told AAP. Asked if he feared reports Lockyer could struggle to play again this year, he said: “that could be a possibility”. Teenager Corey Norman will step into Lockyer’s five-eighth role against Newcastle in another crunch game for Brisbane, needing at least one win from their last three games to continue their amazing record of not having missed the finals since 1991. Henjak made a late switch against Parramatta, starting with utility Matt Gillett, but has decided to give 18 year-old Norman a crack at the job until Lockyer makes it back, if he does. “We’ll name Corey Norman at five-eighth (Tuesday) and he’ll start there,” said Henjak, happy enough with Gillett’s cameo against the Eels. “Gillo (Gillett) was very good but I think he probably enjoys that running game a bit more than having the responsibility of ball-playing which probably takes something away from his natural game. Meanwhile Hodges’s hopes of a late return from the pre-season Achilles surgery which has kept him off the field all season have nose-dived. Hodges pulled up sore after training late last week and was unable to run on Monday. “He couldn’t do what he had to do today (Monday) so we’re no closer with him I don’t think,” said Henjak.

Lockyer to miss two weeks

Brisbane captain Darren Lockyer is set to miss two NRL matches with a rib cartilage injury. Lockyer saw a doctor today and was advised he should take two weeks off to recover from the injury suffered in a crunching tackle by Luke O’Donnell during Friday night’s 34-26 win over North Queensland in Townsville. The Test skipper is likely to miss Friday’s crucial Suncorp Stadium clash with Parramatta and the round 24 game against Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Round 1 Teams – Normans hunt for Jersey 1

Against the Cowboys, Brisbane’s classy scrumbase pairing of Test skipper Darren Lockyer ($209,700 HLV) and New South Wales Origin star Peter Wallace ($238,900 HLV) will pilot five outside backs who have an average age of 20. The Bronco speedsters set for launch at Suncorp Stadium are expected to include 18-year-old debutant Corey Norman ($84,100 FLB) , tipped to be Brisbane’s new fullback. It is believed Norman has survived a strong challenge from 21-year-old Josh Hoffman ($91,100 FLB), with either Steve Michaels ($124,500 CTW), 23, or Denan Kemp ($91,100 FL/CTW), 22, poised to be the “veteran” of the back five.

Henjack puts his best Front Row, Forward!

And next on the list is Sam Thaiday($248,400 FRF), preferring the freedom of the second row Sam may have to relinquish his role depending upon his performance in this weekends trial. Coach Henjack named Thaiday to partner Nick Kenny ($202,400 FRF) in the front row and would not rule out the possibility of starting him there against the Cowboys for Rd 1 “If they (Kenny and Thaiday) go well they could be there (against the Cowboys),” Henjak said on Wednesday. “I’m still looking for the best combination there. I wouldn’t say I was happy with everything, so if that works well for us on Saturday, it might be the way we go.” Unsettling Thaiday out of his preferred position sends a message to the whole team that they will be required to perform as there are plenty of players looking to play in any number of positions. The much commented upon fullback role will again be filled by Corey Norman ($84,100 FLB), although he will share the duties with Josh Hoffman ($91,100 FLB) providing he passes a fitness test Thursday morning “Josh has worked hard and deserves a chance,” said Henjak. “If he gets through tomorrow he and Corey will share the fullback job, I owe him that.” Henjack though would not comment on how much field time Peter Wallace ($238,900 HLV) and Darren Lockyer ($209,700 HLV) will spend in the halves.