Fitting finale for legendary Australian Lockyer

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Soon the majestic skills, effortless control and immense leadership will no longer grace the field.

Those who have gained a ticket for the sell-out Gillette Four Nations final tonight are fortunate in more ways than one as they prepare to witness the last game of one of the greatest players the world has seen.

Australia captain Darren Lockyer lines up for the 471st match of his remarkable career leaving a legacy of true stellar quality.

To be the finest full-back of his generation was impressive enough but to then convert into a stand-off of even greater pedigree says plenty about the innate class of the legendary Queenslander.

In Brisbane, where he has spent his entire career with the Broncos, they will erect a statue of the 34-year-old – putting him on the same pedestal as King Wally – and name a stretch of highway after him too.

Some romantic Australians feel it is impossible for anyone or any team, especially England, to deny Lockyer the perfect finish to his glittering career.

That would be hoisting the Four Nations trophy aloft in his final act, reclaiming the title lost to New Zealand last year during a painful defeat on his home ground.

The searing pace he had earlier in his career may have been toned down but, as with all greats, his quickness of mind means he can still ease his way through games without hardly being touched.

Deft handling, supreme awareness and a kicking repertoire which is still as varied and pinpoint accurate as anyone’s, leave England with plenty to keep them thinking.

His lengthy list of records includes most Test appearances, most internationals as captain, most Test tries, most State of Origin appearances and most NRL appearances.

But Lockyer knows there is nothing certain about his farewell. He may have steered Queensland to a record-breaking State of Origin triumph but there was no fairytale Grand Final success with Brisbane.

“Every game you fear failure,” he said. “We’re just preparing as well as we can to give it our best performance and the outcome looks after itself. You’ve got to be prepared for defeat; it’s a chance of happening.

“There’s always nerves. There were nerves playing at Wembley and it’s a final so the nerves will be there even more.

“With any big game, you are always thinking about the outcome. I can just tell from an outsider looking in that England are very focused at the moment. They’re doing a lot of things right. They believe in themselves, it’s a committed team and they’re playing in front of their home crowd, so it’s going to make it very difficult for us.”