Premier Anna Bligh joined Darren Lockyer at Suncorp Stadium this morning to unveil a statue of the Rugby League legend ahead of tonight’s NRL traditional Queensland derby.
Ms Bligh said Darren Lockyer had earned this honour after a tremendous career with the Brisbane Broncos, the Maroons and Australia.
“I congratulate him for his on-field success, his off-field humility and believe a permanent tribute is a great way of celebrating his achievements,” Ms Bligh said.
“Darren is one of Rugby League’s greatest ambassadors and the Queensland Government is proud to have joined forces with the Sunday Mail to honour Darren’s career here at Suncorp Stadium,” she said.
Darren’s record speaks for itself: Most Tests for Australia: 59, Most Tests for Australia as Captain: 38, Most State of Origin games for Queensland: 36 and the most appearances for the Brisbane Broncos: 366.
As well as captaining Queensland to a record six straight Origin series victories he played in four premierships with the Broncos (one as Captain) and won the Golden Boot Award as world’s best player twice (2003 – 2006).
Ms Bligh said: “It’s hard to imagine that any player will ever match let alone better these statistics in the future.
“But it’s not just that he played all those games - it’s that time and time again Darren did something magical to secure victory for Australia, Queensland and the Broncos.
“Time and time again Darren was the difference between winning and losing,” she said.
The statue will join the “King” Wally Lewis in the Northern Plaza and will provide a new generation of sports fans with a meeting point where they can pay tribute to both legends.
The State Government and the Sunday Mail jointly funded the bronze statue, created by renowned sculptor Phillip Piperides.
“I congratulate Phillip who, over the past eight months, has done a great job transforming the former Broncos Captain into a two metre tall, 200kg icon of league,” Ms Bligh said.
"As a youngster I dreamed of one day being a professional Rugby League player,” Darren Lockyer said.
“Growing up I idolised the likes of Wally Lewis and had an ambition to one day be like him.
“Today’s events are somewhat surreal but it is an honour and flattering to have this statue erected alongside Wally.
“I owe the Queensland public and fans of Rugby League a huge thank you as without you I would not have had this opportunity.
”Many thanks also to the Premier and the Queensland Government, the Sunday Mail newspaper, Nine, Nova, Suncorp Stadium management and the statue sculptor Philip Piperides. Your contributions are much appreciated."
Sunday Mail Editor, Scott Thompson was on hand to witness the historic unveiling.
“The Sunday Mail is proud to see Darren Lockyer immortalised in bronze at the stadium where he delighted so many Queenslanders over 17 magnificent seasons,” Mr Thompson said.
“Locky is a champion in every sense – for his level of excellence, his endurance and the way he played the game with spirit, grace and brilliance.”
The Caxton Street end of Suncorp Stadium celebrates Queensland’s strong Rugby League tradition.
Darren Lockyer’s statue and that of the King, Wally Lewis duo will soon be joined by a statue of the late Arthur Beetson funded by the State Government, Nine Network and FOGS (Former Origin Greats).
The statue walk will complement the State of Origin walk and the Before Origin Greats plaque with the names of 700 players who wore the maroon of Queensland before Origin kicked off in 1980.