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World Cup history won't repeat: Lockyer

A strong sense of deja vu has not convinced former Australian captain Darren Lockyer that history will repeat in this weekend's Rugby League World Cup final in England.
World Cup history won't repeat: Lockyer
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, Nov 29 AAP - A strong sense of deja vu has not convinced former Australian captain Darren Lockyer that history will repeat in this weekend's Rugby League World Cup final in England.

Lockyer admits the signs are ominous after conceding Australia's path to their ill-fated 2008 cup final was eerily similar to the one taken ahead of the tournament decider at Old Trafford on Sunday (AEDT).

However, Lockyer believes lessons learned from their shock 34-20 final loss to the Kiwis in Brisbane five years ago will ensure Australia won't drop their guard this weekend.

"This tournament has run similar to that of 2008. Australia have looked the goods up to the final," he told AAP.

"But the positive from 2008 is that it is a reminder to the team that they need to play for the full 80 minutes.

"That they need to get through the tough periods and not underestimate the Kiwis, not that we did back in 2008.

"By the time we played New Zealand in the final they were in their prime. In 2008 we went through the tournament without being put under pressure.

"And once we did in the final, we weren't conditioned, we couldn't handle it. That's the most disappointing thing.

"But that's not taking anything away from the Kiwis."

Lockyer admitted he was not sweating on Billy Slater's fitness after the matchwinner kept his selection hopes alive by being named in the final's 19-man squad despite nursing a knee complaint.

Not that it had anything to do with Slater's well documented wayward pass in 2008 that switched momentum New Zealand's way in the decider.

"When you have Greg Inglis waiting in the wings, our depth in that position is looking better than it was five years ago," Lockyer said.

"And I know Billy will do what is best for the team.

"But I am sure he will do whatever he can do contribute to the team after what happened in 2008."

Lockyer also hit out at those who had slammed the World Cup tournament after several blowouts, including Australia's 64-0 semi-final win over Fiji.

"We have to start somewhere," he said.

"It may not be at the level of other codes' World Cup at the moment but we have to build towards an event that everyone is happy with.

"I have enjoyed the quality of the tournament.

"Sure there have been some blowout wins but this needs to happen before we get a competition where 12 nations are at a high standard, otherwise it is not going to happen."


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