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Benji more dangerous as skipper: Lockyer
October 17, 2009 - 9:13AM
Kangaroos skipper Darren Lockyer believes handing the New Zealand captaincy to opposite number Benji Marshall has made the Wests Tigers star even more dangerous.
Lockyer was due to arrive in London on Saturday evening (AEDT) with the Australia side ahead of their opening Four Nations clash against the world champion Kiwis next weekend.
Marshall was surprisingly named as NZ’s captain in May this year after Nathan Cayless stepped down following the side’s 2008 World Cup triumph.
“Obviously it gives you a bit more responsibility which encourages you to take a bit more ownership and it gets you more involved,” Lockyer said of Marshall’s elevation.
“He’s a player that’s very unpredictable, if you give him room to move he can make life difficult.”
Aware the Kangaroos need to get off to a bright start at the inaugural tournament, Lockyer is wary of the Kiwis who shocked Australia in Brisbane last November to grab the mantle of the world’s No.1 side.
“They’ve had probably a better preparation than us, they had a warm-up game (against Tonga),” Lockyer said.
“We’ve trained pretty hard but, at the same time, it’s not the same as playing and the nature of the tournament is if you’re not getting results early you’re under a lot of pressure.”
Lockyer, who will become Australia’s most capped Test player in next weekend’s clash, is a fan of the Four Nations concept after a mish-mash of end of season internationals in recent years.
“Obviously we’d like to have a schedule that sort of outlines what’s happening the next four years,” he said.
"I guess they’re working on that.
“I think this tournament, it’s only four matches really, so on the back end of a big club season I think this is a good fit.”
The champion five-eighth, who is almost certainly touring for the last time, says the international game is in a healthier state than when he debuted for Australia in 1998.
“The game is a lot stronger,” he said.
"The media that’s here all week, it’s just tenfold and the gear you get now, just little things like that.
"So the game’s obviously in a good spot at the moment whereas when I first started the international game was struggling a little bit.
“Some of my greatest memories playing rugby league is playing for Australia.”
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Lockyer would know.
Congrats to him on most capped
Good luck Benji
2 best five-eights going round at the moment. Should be exciting to watch. New Zealand though is lacking a halfback. I think they had Fien there against Tonga.
Does anyone know when the Aus V NZ match is being televised? Or if it’s on free-to-air?
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We can also tell you that a television issue could result in New Zealand’s matches being played in the afternoon or on Friday nights. The Kiwis are yet to sell their Four Nations TV rights and Sunday advertising restrictions mean it may be more profitable for their matches to take place before midnight Saturday, NZ time.
Orange TV have the French rights, > Channel Nine in Australia. > The Kiwis’ warm-up match will be against Tonga at a venue outside Auckland, perhaps on Thursday night, October 15. Australia’s only preparation will be the Prime Minister’s XIII game in Port Moresby on September 27.
Fox should have replays I hope…