Darren James Lockyer (born 24 March 1977) is an Australian television commentator and former rugby league footballer. Lockyer was an Australian international and Queensland State representative captain, who played his entire professional career with the Brisbane Broncos. He is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time.
|Full name||Darren James Lockyer|
|Born||24 March 1977|
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||84 kg (13 st 3 lb)|
During his 17-year career he set appearance records for his club, state and country, and also set additional all-time records for most National Rugby League appearances, most State of Origin appearances, most games as captain and most tries for the Australian national team.
As a fullback, Lockyer won three grand finals and one as a Five Eighth with the Broncos (including a Clive Churchill Medal), a World Cup with Australia, and the Golden Boot Award for the world's best player. He was named in Queensland Rugby League's Team of the Century (1998–2007) at fullback. He switched positions to five-eighth in 2004 and went on to win a fourth grand final with the Broncos, a further five State of Origin series with Queensland, and a second Golden Boot Award.
Lockyer was born in Brisbane, Queensland. His father, David, played Australian rules football for ten years in Brisbane with Morningside and introduced Darren to the game at four years of age. Two years later, Lockyer started playing Aussie rules for Springwood, finishing runner-up in the best and fairest award in his first season. The following season he won the club's best and fairest award by 17 votes, despite having to travel 800 kilometres every weekend to play when the family moved to the small country town of Wandoan midway through the season. Travelling commitments and a lack of Australian rules football clubs around the Wandoan area forced him to quit the game and take up rugby league.
He played rugby league for school and club in Wandoan for four years before moving to Roma and playing for the Cities Gladiators. He made his first grade debut at 15 and played fullback for his Roma club. In 1990 Queensland Rugby League Development Officer, Glenn Bayliss, spotted the young Lockyer while visiting Roma. After returning to Toowoomba he passed on his views on to Brisbane Broncos talent scout Cyril Connell and Connell followed his progress over the next few years. In 1994, he traveled to Ipswich for a junior rugby league carnival where his performance caught the eye of coach Wayne Bennett. After impressing at the carnival, he moved to Brisbane and accepted a $2000 scholarship with the Broncos. He also worked as a bartender at the Broncos Leagues Club to make ends meet. Later that year, he signed a $10,000 playing contract with the Broncos.
Lockyer made his professional first-grade debut with the Brisbane Broncos from the bench as an eighteen-year-old five-eighth in a 60–14 thrashing of the Parramatta Eels in Round 13 of the 1995 ARL season. He went on to be named the 1995 Brisbane Broncos season's rookie of the year. Lockyer played most of the 1996 ARL season from the interchange bench.
Lockyer was moved permanently to the fullback position by coach Wayne Bennett at the beginning of the 1997 Super League season, replacing Australian former international winger Willie Carne, who had played fullback for the Broncos in 1996, with Lockyer also taking over the goal kicking duties from Carne. He first gained representative honours for Queensland that season in the second Super League Tri-series match against New South Wales. Lockyer's try-scoring and goal-kicking ability made him the top point-scorer of the 1997 Brisbane Broncos season, and he went on to play in the club's Super League Grand Final-winning team that year, kicking five goals from six attempts in the 26–8 win over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in front of a ground record crowd of 58,912 at the Broncos' home ground, the ANZ Stadium. At the end of the 1997 season Lockyer made his international debut when he was selected to play at fullback for Australia in all three games of the Super League Test series against Great Britain in England. He kicked two goals and one field goal during the series, which was won by Australia.
In the re-unified 1998 NRL season, Lockyer was selected as the Queensland team's fullback and goal-kicker for all three games of their successful 1998 State of Origin series, in which he was the top point-scorer. Lockyer also made his debut for the Australian team against New Zealand, becoming Kangaroo No. 661. He was again top point-scorer for Brisbane that year, smashing the club record of 193 for most points in a season by scoring 272. By this time, Lockyer's playing style in attack was already being likened to that of a five-eighth. He again played at fullback in the 1998 NRL Grand Final, kicking five goals from seven attempts in the Broncos' second consecutive premiership win.
Lockyer's goal-kicking duties at the Broncos were shifted to teammates Ben Walker and Michael De Vere in 1999. Lockyer replaced Robbie O'Davis as Queensland's fullback in Game III of the 1999 State of Origin series, scoring a try and kicking a goal in the 10–10 draw which was enough to see the Maroons retain the shield. He did goal-kicking for Australia though, and was sin-binned in the Kangaroos' win against the Kiwis in the final of the post-season 1999 Tri-nations tournament.
Lockyer played at fullback in all three matches of the 2000 State of Origin series in which the Maroons suffered a 3–0 series whitewash at the hands of the Blues. At the end of the season, Lockyer played at fullback in the Broncos' 2000 NRL Grand Final victory over the Sydney Roosters, and was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for best and fairest player on the field. Also in 2000 he received the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in the sport of rugby league and played in the 2000 World Cup-winning Kangaroos side, scoring a try in the final against New Zealand. By this time Lockyer was being called the best fullback in the world.
Having won the 2000 NRL Premiership, the Broncos traveled to England to play against 2000's Super League V champions, St Helens R.F.C., for the 2001 World Club Challenge, with Lockyer playing at fullback in Brisbane's loss. In March 2001, Lockyer was approached by the Australian Football League club Essendon regarding an unprecedented switch of codes, and was offered a contract subsequent to a successful trial. However Lockyer chose to stay committed to rugby league (seven years later, Lockyer's replacement as Broncos fullback, Karmichael Hunt was made a similar offer and accepted, becoming the first professional rugby footballer in History to switch codes to Australian rules). Later in 2001, following Queensland skipper Gorden Tallis' season-ending neck injury before the second game of the 2001 State of Origin series, the Maroons' captaincy was handed to Lockyer. In the third and deciding game of the series, Lockyer was named man-of-the-match, having scored two tries and kicked four goals to help Queensland to victory.
Lockyer was Queensland's fullback in all three games of their successful 2002 State of Origin series. Along with Lote Tuqiri and Chris Walker, Lockyer was the top try-scorer of the 2002 Brisbane Broncos season, and also received the club's player of the year award.
Lockyer was Queensland's fullback for all three games of their unsuccessful 2003 State of Origin series. He was named the 2003 Brisbane Broncos season's best player. At the end of the 2003 NRL season, the retirement of Australian national skipper, Gorden Tallis, from representative football meant that the Kangaroos captaincy was handed to Lockyer shortly before the 2003 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France. Lockyer led Australia to victory over Great Britain in what would be the last time rugby league's Ashes series was contested. In addition he won the first of his Rugby League World Golden Boot Awards for the world's best international rugby league player that year.
For the 2004 Brisbane Broncos season, after the retirement of Ben Ikin, coach Wayne Bennett moved Lockyer, then established as the world's best fullback, to the five-eighth position where he would get more opportunities with the ball in hand. The Broncos fullback position he left vacated was taken by 17-year-old Karmichael Hunt.
Lockyer gained some negative media attention at the start of the 2004 NRL season when he made a careless joke about the Bulldogs' gang rape allegation at a Queensland sports function. Being the Australian captain, Lockyer was rebuked by national officials and quickly apologised for the comment.
Despite Lockyer's lack of experience as a five-eighth, he was picked in the position for Queensland and Australia, and remained as captain of both teams. He captained Queensland at five-eighth in the second and third games of the 2004 State of Origin series which was eventually lost to the Blues.
Also in 2004, during a game for the Broncos, Lockyer took a hit to the throat which caused damage to a small bone in his larynx. This has resulted in his unusually husky-sounding voice, which could be corrected with surgery that Lockyer has so far declined to undergo. Lockyer was selected in the Australian team to compete in the end of season Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Great Britain he captained the Kangaroos at five-eighth, scoring a try and kicking six goals in their 44–4 victory. At the 2004 RLIF Awards Lockyer was named international back of the year.
With Gorden Tallis' retirement at the end of the 2004 season, the Broncos' captaincy was passed onto Lockyer in 2005. He also captained Australia at five-eighth in the 2005 ANZAC Test, scoring two tries. Lockyer then captained Queensland at five-eighth in all three games of their unsuccessful 2005 State of Origin series. In 2005 Lockyer was also the Broncos' top point-scorer. However, experienced commentators continued questioning Lockyer's value as a five-eighth during representative matches. He traveled with the Australian national team to Europe for the 2005 Tri-Nations but injured his foot at training and missed the last few games of the tournament, including Australia's loss to New Zealand in the final.
After a poor start to the 2006 Brisbane Broncos season following a 36–4 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in Round 1, several critics argued that Lockyer should either return to fullback or lose his spot on both the Australian and Queensland squad. There were also rumours that Johnathan Thurston would be chosen as the Queensland five-eighth, with Scott Prince at halfback. However, after the ANZAC Test, in which Lockyer scored two tries in Australia's 50–12 defeat of New Zealand, the critics eased off.
Lockyer's performances in the five-eighth position improved greatly in the weeks leading up to the 2006 State of Origin series, resulting in his selection as five-eighth and captain for Game I. Lockyer underwent further criticism when the Maroons lost to the Blues 17–16 after a poor first half. His position was again debated, but strong performances against the Bulldogs and the Warriors resulted in his retention in the Queensland side. Queensland then made an impressive comeback in Origin 2, thumping the Blues 30–6, with Lockyer receiving the Man of the Match award. He was then responsible for sealing the series victory for Queensland in the deciding match. With Queensland down 14–10 with 5 minutes remaining, Lockyer intercepted a pass from NSW player Brett Hodgson and scored the match-winning try. It was Queensland's first outright series victory since 2001 and also stopped New South Wales from achieving their 4th consecutive Origin series win. After the match, Lockyer received the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series.
Immediately after Queensland's State of Origin success, the Broncos entered a 5-game losing streak, but bounced back to comfortably win their final three premiership games of the season. Despite losing to the St George Illawarra Dragons in the first week of the finals, the Broncos rebounded to defeat the Newcastle Knights 50–6. They then won the preliminary final against the Bulldogs 37–20 after trailing 20–6 at half-time, with Lockyer named man of the match. He then steered his team to win the 2006 NRL Grand Final 15–8 over Melbourne, setting up both tries and then kicking a winning field goal in the 73rd minute. This was Lockyer's fourth premiership (first as captain), and the Broncos' sixth. Lockyer was also the Broncos' top try-scorer (together with Tame Tupou) for the 2006 season.
Lockyer then captained the Kangaroos to an extra-time victory in the 2006 Tri-nations Final against New Zealand, scoring the match-winning try in Australia's 16–12 victory. In the process, he became the top try-scorer in Tri-Nations history with a tally of 9 tries.
In the week leading up to the final, Lockyer was named the Golden Boot Award-winner for international player of the year for the second time. Lockyer was also named Dally M five-eighth and representative player of the year, the Broncos' best back, and people's choice player of the year, as well as being a finalist in the Queensland Sports Star of the Year award. 2006 was arguably Lockyer's finest ever season, as he'd become the first person since Allan Langer (a former teammate) to captain winning teams in the National Rugby League premiership, the State of Origin series, and the Tri-Nations series all in the same year.
Prior to the NRL season the Broncos, under Lockyer, lost the 2007 World Club Challenge to St. Helens. This remains the only major trophy to have eluded him (notwithstanding the Broncos' victory in the Super League World Club Championship tournament of 1997).
In round 1 of the 2007 NRL season, Lockyer injured his right ankle and was initially ruled out for 6 weeks. However, a fortnight later in Round 3, he made a surprise comeback for the Broncos against the Penrith Panthers. Lockyer captained the Australian national team from five-eighth in the 2007 ANZAC Test match against New Zealand, scoring a try in the Kangaroos' 30–6 victory.
During the season at the Broncos' 20-year anniversary celebration, the club announced a list of the 20 best players to play for them to date which included Lockyer.
Lockyer injured his ankle again in Round 9 against the Sharks but he recovered in time to play in Game I of the 2007 State of Origin series and defeat the New South Wales Blues.
In the Round 18 match against North Queensland, Lockyer ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, with the severity of the injury forcing him out for the rest of the 2007 season. He was scheduled to return for the March pre season games in 2008.
Lockyer was at the time contracted to the Broncos until the end of 2009 when he admitted he that he was interested in playing in the Super League after watching the 2007 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London.
On 27 October 2007, Lockyer married Loren Pollock, his girlfriend of three years, coincidentally on the same day his immediate predecessor as Australian Test captain, Andrew Johns also tied the knot.
Lockyer had been strongly linked with a move to Super League at the conclusion of the 2008 NRL season. Lockyer said he would like to play in Super League before he retired. He was linked with a move to the Bradford Bulls and the Catalans Dragons. Lockyer stated of his desire to move in the future, "Not just playing here but living in a different culture – it's appealing." He admitted he had his appetite for a stint in Britain whetted by the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final and that he would be open to offers from Super League clubs for his swansong. It was confirmed by his manager George Mimis that up to six Super League clubs were hoping to lure Lockyer to England, with London-based Harlequins RL said to be early front-runners for the Australian captain's signature. He was also linked with Hull Kingston Rovers, however he was believed to favour a move to Wigan or Leeds.
A troublesome knee injury resulted in surgery which kept Lockyer off the field for much of the first half of the 2008 season, however Lockyer returned, guiding the Brisbane Broncos to the finals series. Lockyer also missed the entire 2008 State of Origin series but the Maroons still won without him.
In August 2008, Lockyer was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 World Cup, and in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad. He was considered one of the 2008 World Cup 'Players to Watch' by NRL Live. Lockyer scored two tries and was awarded the player of the match medal in the losing effort against the Kiwis at the World Cup final.
He played his milestone 300th NRL game in round 8 of the 2009 NRL competition against the Newcastle Knights. He had been named in the preliminary 25-man squad to represent Queensland in the opening match of the 2009 State of Origin series, and was subsequently picked to play. Following the third State of Origin match, Lockyer was out with a knee injury for a few weeks. He returned to a Broncos side that had been getting beaten badly and looked to be out of premiership contention, but towards the end of the season put in consecutive man-of-the-match performances that saw the Broncos defeat table leaders St. George Illawarra. After an ankle injury to Lockyer's halves partner Peter Wallace in that match, the Broncos were knocked out by eventual premiers Melbourne in the grand final qualifier and in 2010 it was found that the Melbourne storm were cheating the salary cap at this time.
Around the start of the 2010 NRL season, there was massive media speculation about whether Lockyer would retire from representative football. He opted to continue making himself available to selectors and continued captaining the Kangaroos, taking Australia to victory in the 2010 ANZAC Test.
Lockyer's wife gave birth to their first child, a boy named Sunny James, on 29 April 2010, a month out from State of Origin.
Lockyer in 2010, captained Queensland to their record-breaking fifth straight series win. In the series sealing victory in Game II, Lockyer was named Man of the Match. This series highlighted how Lockyer over time; has become more and more effective and comfortable in his game-dominating five-eighth role.
In round 16 Lockyer played his 329th game for the Broncos, breaking Andrew Ettingshausen's record for most games played at a single club. Lockyer suffered a rib injury three weeks out from the finals series with the Broncos teetering in 8th place. Brisbane went on to miss the 8 (finishing 10th) for the first time in 18 years, Lockyers injury was the main factor in this as he did not play a single game after it and Brisbane failed to win another game.
During the end of season 2010 Four Nations tournament, Lockyer broke the Australian national team's all-time try scoring record of 33 set by Ken Irvine, scoring his 34th against Papua New Guinea in Australia's opening match. He was however, unable to secure the trophy for Australia, with New Zealand coming out victors in their third consecutive final of a major tournament against the Kangaroos.
After performing well at Broncos pre-season training in January, Lockyer declared himself available for the full representative football calendar of 2011.
On 28 March 2011, Lockyer announced his retirement stating that the 2011 season will be his final year in the National Rugby League after deciding not to go to the Super League with the promoted Widnes Vikings.
On 1 May, Lockyer was named captain in the 17-man squad for the annual ANZAC Test Match in his usual position of five-eighth, he was joined by four other Brisbane Broncos teammates, Justin Hodges, Jharal Yow Yeh, Sam Thaiday and Ben Hannant, as well as 9 teammates from his Queensland team; Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Petero Civoniceva, Cameron Smith, Matt Scott, Cooper Cronk and Dave Shillington. Lockyer finished his final ANZAC Test match on a good note, leading the Kangaroos to a 20–10 victory, equalling Ruben Wiki's record of 55 Test games at Test level, having a big hand in setting up two tries the first for Billy Slater with a bomb, the second with a pop-pass play to Gallen, ending in the hands of test-debutant Yow Yeh. Lockyer made a line in the last minute of the first half and set up plays on the right edge for his Broncos teammates.
Lockyer was selected in Game I of the 2011 State of Origin series at five-eighth and as captain, this was Lockyers 34th appearance for Queensland equalling the all-time record of Allan Langer. Lockyer set up and made the final pass for Billy Slater's match winning try. Darren was selected for the following two games, Game 2, a loss, however led the Maroons to a nail-biting decider win of 34–24; ending his prolific Origin career on a high, with 6-straight series wins and a memorable speech. Lockyer played his final game of Origin alongside 5 of his current Broncos teammates, being Justin Hodges, Jharal Yow Yeh, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker and Ben Hannant.
In Round 22, on 7 August, Lockyer played his all-time record-equalling 349th club game against the New Zealand Warriors at home, Suncorp Stadium. Brisbane won the game 21–20 thanks to a field goal slotted in by halfback Peter Wallace. The following Friday, on 12 August, Lockyer officially broke the record for most NRL games played at 350 with a win over the North Queensland Cowboys in front of a capacity crowd Dairy Farmers Stadium. The NRL's CEO David Gallop presented Lockyer with the match ball afterwards. In the second week of the finals series, Lockyer and the Broncos came up against his former mentor Bennett in a match billed as a farewell for one of the two champions. Lockyer was responsible for putting Ben Teo in for the first try, and he once again sealed the match for the Broncos with a 30m field goal in the 82nd minute. During the match, he fractured his cheekbone from a knock from Gerard Beale's knee, while mid-air. This required later surgery. The following round saw the Broncos take the field against the Manly Sea Eagles in the semi-final without Lockyer. A loss saw the end of Darren Lockyer's club football career in the NRL. He was named the 2011 Brisbane Broncos season's player of the year.
On 16 October 2011, he captained Australia to a 42–6 win against New Zealand in his last Test game in Australia at Newcastle's Hunter Stadium.
Lockyer ended his career captaining the Australian national team to victory in the 2011 Four Nations. His last match was the Four Nations final at Elland Road against England; he scored a try with the last play of the match, and his final touch was an unsuccessful conversion attempt from in front of the posts.
Honours and career highlightsEdit
In February 2008, Lockyer was named in a list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia, the only current player to make the list. In June 2008, he was chosen in the Queensland Rugby League's Team of the Century at fullback.
In 2011 part of the Warrego Highway between Ipswich and Toowoomba was renamed Darren Lockyer Way in his honour. Also, the Queensland State Government agreed to sculpting a life size bronze statue of Darren Lockyer in honour of his achievements in Queensland Rugby League which since 2012 has been standing next to 'The King', Wally Lewis outside Lang Park.
- First Grade Debut v Eels Round 13, 1995 (Broncos won 60–14).
- Club Rookie of the Year 1995
- Member of the 1997 Super League World Club Challenge winning Broncos side (Broncos defeated Hunter Mariners 36–12).
- Member of the 3rd Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 1997 (Broncos defeated Sharks 26–8, Lockyer scored 5 goals; 10 points).
- Most points in one season: 272 in 1998
- Member of the 4th Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 1998 (Broncos defeated Bulldogs 38–12, Lockyer scored 5 goals; 10 points).
- Member of the 5th Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 2000 (Broncos defeated Roosters 14–6)
- Clive Churchill Medal Winner 2000
- Club Player of the Year 2002, 2003 and 2011
- Changed Position from Fullback to Five-Eighth at start of 2004 at request of Wayne Bennett
- Captain 2005–2011
- Dally M. Medal Five-Eighth of the Year 2006
- Dally M. Medal Representative Player of the Year 2006
- Highest Ever Brisbane Point-Scorer with 1,220 Club Points (as of End of 2007 Season)
- Club Best Back Award 2001,2002,2003,2006
- Member of the 6th Broncos Premiership Winning Team in 2006 and also Captain (Broncos defeated Storm 15–8, Lockyer scored 2 goals and 1 field goal).
- Highest capped Broncos player – 355
- Most games at a single club – 355
- Dally M. Medal Five-Eighth of the Year 2007
|355||123||341/506||21||1,195||5 December 2011|
(Correct to 29 July 2011)
- Played in a record 36 State of Origin Games
- Man of the Match 3 times (2001,2006,2010)
- Played 2 Tri-Series Matches for Queensland during the 1997 Super League Season (1 goal; 2 points)
- Captained in 22 State of Origin Games (second only to Wally Lewis with 30)
- Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series, 2006
- Part of the Series Winning Sides in 1998, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 (also drawn series in 1999 and 2002)
- Captain of the Series Winning Sides in 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 (injured for all three games in the 2008 series)
|36||9||22/30||2||82||29 July 2011|
- 59 Test matches for Australia
- Played in 4 test matches during the 1997 Super League Season (2 tries; 2 goals; 1 field goal; 13 points) which the Australian Rugby League does not count towards official test records
- Australian Kangaroos Captain 2003–2011
- Record 38 test matches as captain
- Highest Kangaroos try-Scorer with 35 tries
- 9 World Cup Matches for Australia
- 5 Tries and 4 Goals in World Cup Matches
- Golden Boot Award for International Player of the Year 2003 (while playing fullback)
- Golden Boot Award for International Player of the Year 2006 (while playing five-eighth)
|59||35||31||2||204||19 November 2011|
Lockyer had a second son on 14 January 2012 called Flynn Martin. Lockyer began a career in television commentary for rugby league matches in 2012. Though opting not to have surgery to remove the chipped bone in his throat, he decided to see a speech therapist to help his tone for TV commentary. Lockyer had a third son born on 29 May 2013 called Hugo David.
In 2012, Lockyer signed a three-year contract with Origin Energy's Australia Pacific coal seam gas (CSG) project. He will be their safety ambassador and also to gain support for a mining operations called Coal Seam gas or CSG. On Origin's website Darren is investigating the coal seam gas industry for himself. He talks to paid employees and also talks to a farmer that are also making large amount of money from CSG Mining.
Lockyer currently serves as Head of Business Affairs at Mayur Resources, a Brisbane-based energy and minerals company with activities in Papua New Guinea.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Darren Lockyer.|
- Brisbane Broncos profile
- Darren Lockyer Footysocial profile
- Darren Lockyer at the website.
- Darren Lockyer's 2001 Ashes profile at news.bbc.co.uk
- Queensland Team of the Century named – article at nz.leagueunlimited.com
Brett Kimmorley (Melbourne Storm)
| Clive Churchill Medallist
Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)