x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Into his last season, Darren Lockyer still strikes fear in opponents

Name a record and the Brisbane Broncos half-back owns it: most Australia appearances (54), most tries for the Kangaroos (33), most appearances and points for the Broncos (currently 334 and 1,175 respectively).

He is not the fastest, but he is no slouch, his goal kicking is good, but by no means jaw-dropping, and many opponent would struggle to remember ever having been put on their backsides in a collision with him.

But ask them to name the player they most fear facing and the majority will say Darren Lockyer.

When you consider the outstanding rugby league players Australia has produced, one player, for me, is a prefix to all of them in the list of greats: Lockyer.

The Brisbane Broncos half-back announced earlier this week that this season would be his last, bringing down the curtain on a glittering 16-year career that saw him help the Queenslanders to victory in four NRL Grand Finals.

It is testament to his ability that the 34-year old is still the first number the Australia selectors dial when naming a squad.

Name a record and Lockyer owns it: most Australia appearances (54), most tries for the Kangaroos (33), most appearances and points for the Broncos (currently 334 and 1,175 respectively).

The list goes on.

One code, one club is rare in the game of rugby, but Lockyer has stayed with the Broncos since his debut back in 1995.

Lockyer is also a captain of nonpareil. The man with the armband for any team should be one of three things: the best player, the man who leads by example or the talisman who can galvanise both players and the crowd.

Lockyer is all three.