AS MUCH as there is riding on the game, Darren Lockyer says the result of Saturday's do-or-die clash between the Brisbane side he captains and the St George Illawarra side Wayne Bennett coaches won't affect their friendship one bit.
The game at Suncorp Stadium is among the most eagerly anticipated of the season, because it pits the retiring Lockyer against the man who, as the long-time Broncos coach before he left for the Dragons in 2009, was instrumental in shaping his career.
To stay alive, Bennett's Dragons will have to end the career of the player he admires most. Bennett admitted in a recent interview that he would feel extremely uncomfortable bringing the curtain down on Lockyer's career but also said he would be prepared to do so because that was his job.
It is a position Lockyer understands. Speaking to the Herald yesterday, the 34-year-old five-eighth said he and the 61-year-old coach would do all they possibly could to get their teams a win. He wouldn't expect it any other way.
''I know Wayne, and he knows me,'' Lockyer said. ''We will both be focused on our jobs this week. All the stuff that will be written about the game, that is there to sell papers. At the end of the day, the most important thing will be the game itself - how well the two teams prepare and how well they go out and play.''
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