8 hours ago
Johns v Lockyer - Origin 2
Tonight's second Origin may be a promoter's dream, but Queensland captain Darren Lockyer says his latest battle with champion Blues half Andrew Johns is not a "world title".
At various stages during the past three or four years, Lockyer and Johns have held the title "world's best player".
But Lockyer said his 13th meeting with Johns in the Origin ring would not settle arguments among fans as to who was the best player in rugby league.
"All I know is it's always a challenge playing against Andrew," said Lockyer.
"If you win, you feel like you have had a victory over a rival you've had a bit of confrontation with over the years.
NSW fans regard Johns as one of the great players of all-time.
He's played 21 Origins - 12 against Lockyer.
Not surprisingly there's not much between their head to head records since they first clashed in 1998 with Johns boasting six wins and Lockyer four victories - there have also been two draws.
Johns will be a little underdone having played just nine games in two years following serious knee and jaw injuries.
The two-time Golden Boot winner however is hungry after so long on the sidelines and he still has that aura that even makes champion players like Lockyer nervous.
When Johns had a knee reconstruction in 2004, Lockyer inherited the Australian captaincy.
A stunning Ashes performance resulted in him claiming Johns' title as the game's best player.
Wednesday night's clash at Sydney's Telstra Stadium will be a little different with Lockyer now playing in the halves which puts him a lot closer to Johns.
The Queensland captain didn't want to buy into suggestions that tonight's winner could legitimately call himself the best player in the world.
"The one thing I know is he's a really good competitor who'll be doing everything in his power to get a win for NSW," said Lockyer.
"That's the way I have to think as well."
Lockyer said Johns' unpredictable kicking game would make NSW more dangerous.
"You can't predict anything about his kicking game, you just have to be ready for everything and anything on the night."
The Queenslanders were heckled when they went for a team walk around the streets of Parramatta today but it was nothing compared to what they will cop at Telstra Stadium on Wednesday.
The main target will be forward enforcer Carl Webb whom Lockyer said had taken over Gorden Tallis' mantle as the player Blues' fans wanted to hate.
Queensland, with Souths utility Ashley Harrison on standby as 18th man, wrapped up preparations with a training session at Telstra Stadium yesterday.