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9 hours ago - 4 Likes
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says he will continue limiting Darren Lockyer's game time until he is confident the skipper's knee can handle 80 minutes of football.
Lockyer again started on the bench in the Broncos 20-14 NRL win over the Sydney Roosters on Friday night, coming on after 13 minutes as he continues his trouble-free return from a knee reconstruction.
The Australian Test star played the final hour of last week's thrashing of Penrith and says he will take some time regaining his match-winning touch in his cautious comeback.
"(The knee) is not too bad, I'm getting there. The game was a lot more intense than last week," said Lockyer.
"I know I can get a lot better too."
Lockyer admits he doesn't enjoy starting off the interchange as he gets more nervous waiting to get involved.
Bennett says the champion five-eighth may not have to wait much longer as he is considering starting Lockyer for next Friday's derby with North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
But even if he does start his captain, Lockyer is unlikely to play the full 80 minutes as the Broncos are concerned his knee will be susceptible to injury as he fatigues later in the game.
"The doctor's position at the moment is he just thinks that (Lockyer) is not ready to play the full game," said Bennett.
"We might start him next week and bring him off later in the game.
"It's not going to go on for much longer, (at least) until he gets some fitness in his legs and the doctor feels he won't fatigue late in the game which will really make him vulnerable to injury."
While Lockyer eases his way back to full fitness, the early form of Penrith recruit Peter Wallace at halfback is a pleasing sign for the Broncos.
Wallace had a hand in each of Brisbane's three tries and booted four goals to lead the side home in a tough contest with the Roosters.
But both Bennett and Lockyer believe Wallace has room for improvement in his game as he becomes the Broncos long-term answer to their halfback dilemma.
"(Wallace) is going good," said Lockyer. "He is not trying to overplay it which is good, he is just taking his time.
"This game was better than round one so hopefully he can keep improving each game."
Another Bronco, young gun Dave Taylor, will continue to be held back in his rapid rise to NRL stardom.
Taylor, 19, played only a short stint against the Roosters on Friday night with Bennett revealing the teenager was too inexperienced to handle the war of attrition.
"It was too tough of a game for the kid," said Bennett.
"He did a great job for us for 15 minutes but after that it was a war out there and he is only 19 he is not ready for that yet.
"In a game like that you just have to go with ones who know how to do that job, the tried and true."