Building up to the State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium, we’re counting down the 10 greatest individual performances in Origin history.
No.5 in our countdown is a performance that was overshadowed by a returning legend – Darren Lockyer’s man-of-the-match display in the 2001 decider.
Warrington-based Allan Langer was the sentimental hero of the euphoric 40-14 game three triumph after answering a Maroons SOS, but Lockyer was adjudged man-of-the-match for another consummate performance.
In doubt with an injury concern in the lead-up, his brilliant one-handed offload to Brad Meyers kick-started a 70-metre movement finished off by centre Chris Walker for Queensland’s first try. Later in the half he ran the ball on the last tackle and cut through the Blues’ defence before kicking ahead for Walker to bag his second, while Lockyer scored the Maroons’ fifth try of the opening 40 minutes when he ran an angled line onto a deft Langer inside ball.
Lockyer ranged up in support of a Carl Webb break in the second half and outpaced the NSW cover defence to score his second try; he added four goals for a Queensland record-equalling 16 points, while his series total of 34 broke Mal Meninga’s 18-year-old Maroons mark.
Unsurprisingly, Lockyer won the Wally Lewis Medal as Queensland’s best and fairest player, while he also claimed the Dally M Representative Player of the Year award.