Brisbane fullback Josh Hoffman grabbed a career-first NRL hat-trick as
champion five-eighth Darren Lockyer celebrated his record 350th game
with a 34-16 win over North Queensland at Dairy Farmers Stadium on
Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 26,463,
Lockyer became the game’s most capped first grade player in 103 years,
eclipsing Terry Lamb and Steve Menzies.
He did it on the back of
Hoffman’s magnificent try-scoring treble, highlighted by a slick
side-stepping 80 metre effort just after halftime which pushed the
Broncos out to a 24-10 lead.
The Broncos flew Lockyer’s parents David and Sharon and his wife Loren to Townsville for his milestone.
Brisbane took the field wearing special commemorative jumpers with “Lockyer 350” embroided on their chests.
jumpers were presented to the players on Thursday night after they
watched a special video message wishing their skipper good luck from the
club’s inaugural captain Wally Lewis.
Brisbane led 18-10 at
halftime after Hoffman’s fifth and 25th minute tries which were split by
rookie Jack Reed’s four pointer, his 10th of the season, in the 12th
The Cowboys took almost 20 minutes to get on the
scoreboard with winger Faifai Loa doing some excellent work to crash
over wide out off a Matt Bowen overhead pass.
Ray Thompson was denied a try in the 30th minute after video replays
show winger Ashley Graham stepped on the touch line before getting his
inside pass away with the home side down 18-4.
A few minutes
later Johnathan Thurston appealed for a penalty try after Loa who was
chasing down his chip kick collided with Brisbane winger Dale Copley.
“Its not a penalty try John, I don’t know if he (Loa) would have got there,” said referee Gavin Badger.
started the the second half the way he finished the first with an 80
metre try after swooping onto a bouncing ball on his own 20 metre line
to extend Brisbane’s lead to 24-10.
When Brent Tate scored for
the Cowboys and Thurston converted to make it 24-16 it was game on again
until Copley, a late replacement for winger Jharal Yow Yeh sprinted 75
metres to score Brisbane’s fifth try.
It was a great night for
Lockyer who after celebrating his first career milestone of 50 games
with a win at Dairy Farmers Stadium has not enjoyed much luck at the
ground where he suffered a serious knee injury in 2007.
He was presented with the game ball which was placed in a glass case by NRL chief executive David Gallop.
“Tonight we get to celebrate an incredible milestone in our game,” Gallop told the crowd.
“Brisbane, Queensland and Australian captain clocks up 350 games, that’s an enormous effort.”
Lockyer thanked the crowd after the game and said: “I’m going to miss it, I always enjoying playing in front of you.”