Off the Wall

Much has been written about the career of Darren Lockyer in the last 24 hours since his announcement that the 2011 season will bring down the curtain on his playing career.
Ihave been looking over the records he has created - and those he will most likely create before the end of the current season.

What stands out when you look at the records is that some of them may never be broken.

That in itself is a remarkable achievement.

I believe his most important records are his test representation, and test captaincy, numbers. He has played an amazing 54 tests for Australia, playing his first test way back in 1998 (he played Super League tests in 1997).

What is even more remarkable is that for more than half his test career, he has been the captain - he played his first test as captain way back in 2003, and, with the exception of injuries, he has been captain in every test since then.

I doubt his test representation record, and test captaincy record, will ever be exceeded or equalled.

In the second half of the season he will eclipse another of the game's great records - most number of first grade matches played. The record - 349 - is currently shared by two great players, Steve Menzies and Terry Lamb.

When Lockyer exceeds it - he has 13 games to go - what it will highlight is the extraordinary length of his career. When he made his first grade debut in round 13 of the 1995 season, Paul Keating was Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Carr had just been elected Premier of New South Wales, and Wayne Goss was Premier of Queensland!

His Origin success record is not going to be beaten anytime soon either. And not many other great players of this and future eras will be able to claim four premierships.
I am not certain how much store Darren places on records - but if he values them he will end his playing career will the fondest of memories and records that he will be able to see protected for as far as any of us can see into the future!

You don't have to be a Broncos, or a Maroons, fan to respect Lockyer's records, and his consistent and stellar on field performances. And his off field record is one he can be proud of.

His record is made even more remarkable by the fact it has been made in two specialist positions - first at fullback and then at five eighth.

Darren Lockyer is an outstanding servant of the greatest game of all.

What I admire above all else is that, as his club career has been drawing to its conclusion he has absolutely refused to reduce, or end his representative career.

He will remain loyal to the Broncos, the Maroons, and the Kangaroos, to the very end. He surely deserves the highest accolades the game can bestow for that!