Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Darren Lockyer burst onto the scene in Rugby League while he was still a teenager, recruited by the Brisbane Broncos through former Queensland half Cyril Connell and would go on to make his NRL debut for the Broncos when he was just 18-years-old in 1995.
Just two years later the Roma native made his debut for Queensland and Australia in the Super League competition but would make his State of Origin debut for Queensland one year later and remain in the Australian squad.
By the time he was 24, Lockyer had won three premierships and was a key component for both his state and country, with the captaincy role in all three sides soon to be his.
After dominating the game at fullback for ten seasons, Lockyer’s coach Wayne Bennett would move his star player to five-eighth in 2004, a gamble that would pay off in a big way, as in 2006 the now 44-year-old would captain his Broncos side to their sixth and to date last premiership win, arguably his greatest achievement.
Lockyer would sit down with Rugby League Week back in 2013 to reminisce about the 2006 Grand final.
“It was a very defensive orientated game and for us, we had a game plan and executed it very well,” said Lockyer.
“You remember all the tries, but defensively we were outstanding that night.”
Five years later Lockyer would retire from the game after 355 NRL games with the Broncos, four premierships and a plethora of accolades at a representative level; however, there is one more accolade that the half is yet to secure, Immortal status.
To be named an Immortal is the highest individual honour in Australian Rugby League.
A select few have been deemed Immortals in the past, as their contribution to the game has far surpassed that of many others and Lockyer’s resume fits the requirements.
In 2018, the Queensland State of Origin representative was considered among the candidates to join this illustrious group but missed out as Herbert “Dally” Messenger, Frank Burge, Dave Brown, Norm Provan and Mal Meninga were all given the nod over Lockyer.
On top of his formidable achievements in a team environment, Lockyer also has many an individual award to boot as a three-time Dally M Fullback of the Year, three-time Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year, two time Dally M Representative Player of the Year, two time Golden Boot winner, Clive Churchill Medallist, Harry Sunderland Medallist, Wally Lewis Medallist and Australian Rugby League Hall of Famer.
Lockyer’s importance to the game of Rugby League is undeniable and he truly was a generational talent.
The next time an Immortal induction ceremony is held Lockyer will certainly be a nominee for the honour and must be considered a favourite amongst the other candidates, whoever they may be.
For Lockyer to not eventually be inducted into this exclusive group of Rugby League’s greatest would be to diminish its value, as one of the greatest professional Rugby League players of all time would not be included.