Darren Lockyer to chase pop stardom

Like many a battle-hardened rugby league veteran has been forced to do at the end of a grueling career, Darren Lockyer has flagged his intentions to go under the knife – once he hangs up those famous boots for the final time. After all, 16 years of rigorous, elite-level rugby league have aged his once lithe, youthful body. Happens to the best of ’em.

But there’s a twist. Lockyer is not getting a knee arthroscopy to fulfil that clichéd dream of “kicking the ball around with my kids”; nor is he undergoing corrective nasal surgery, thanks to a string of broken noses, to fix that snoring problem at the request of his long-suffering missus, Loren.

No. Instead, the Queensland icon has booked an appointment to fix his grizzled, gravelly voice so he can pursue his original dream.

Pop stardom, that is.

Two of Lockyer's musical idols, Barnes (right) and Turner

Having broken into ThePublicApology’s news room (we have no idea how he got in), Darren moon-walks across the velvet carpets to drop the exclusive – or rather, his behind – right into this reporter’s lap.

“Every young boy in Roma dreamt of being the next Michael Jackson, but with gigs harder to come by than an untouched goat’s arsehole, rugby league just sort of took over,” he admits.

Lockyer’s croaky voice has been attributed over the years to a nasty tackle back in 2004, which resulted in a floating bone pressing against his vocal chords. But these are rumours the 34-year-old is keen to quash.

“Nah mate, we just put [the gravelly voice] down to a high shot for PR reasons. It actually came about after an away game against the Cowboys. I was alone in my hotel room feeling a bit lonesome – this is before I met Loren, obviously – and got a bit too nasty on myself with the old belt-around-the-neck trick. Best wank I ever had! But yeah, I wrecked my voice in the process.”

Has he any regrets?

“Not about the auto-erotic stuff no – that shit’s great. But if I had my time again I would definitely have chosen singing over rugby league,” he says. With a wistful twinkle in his eye, he adds: “Sometimes I would skip training and just belt out show tunes into my hairbrush in front of Mum’s mirror. Dad was a bit worried my football was going to suffer, but Mum was fully supportive. I just wish I was brave enough to see it through.”

"That shit's great."

“I would put on the craziest costumes,” he laughs. “Because that’s part of pop, you know? The outfits. One day I would be Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, the next Madonna with the cone-tits. I’d get [his brother] Matt to eat a couple of Sunny-boys and then strap them to my chest. Bit sticky, but they looked the part. Bingo [the family pig] would usually lick me clean after, you know, with the water shortages and all.”

Any signature outfit ideas for himself?

“Well I’ve got my two Golden Boots, so I think I might go with them. Darren “Golden Boots” Lockyer – I like the sound of that. Or I might drop the given name altogether and just go by Golden Boots. Yeah, I like that…”

Draping a pink feather-boa over this reporter’s neck and strutting across the floor, the limber Lockyer moves two heavy superior antique mahogany desks with consummate ease, clearing space for an impromptu live performance. Having captured my attention, he begins fight-dancing, meanwhile screaming random profanities presumably learned from a lifetime of rugby league.

These are not the delicate moves I would have expected, given our previous discourse, but quite frankly I am too petrified to say anything.

Darren "Golden Boots" Lockyer

Of course, Darren is not the first future Australian Idol to boast rich rugby league roots. ThePublicApology recently profiled Sean Ikin’s [brother of Australian and Queensland representative, Ben] debut album Gallery of Murmurs. The record was widely hammered by pensioners and critics alike; nonetheless, once Darren calms I ask him if there is any chance of a duet?

“No. Darren sings with Darren and that’s it. I’ve been a team player all my life and now it’s time to play for Darren.”

He stares at me intensely across the room. I begin to feel uncomfortable. In a moment of madness I bring up Andrew Johns and his two Golden Boot awards. The best player in the world. Twice.


Andrew Johns.

“Why would you bring him up?”

I just thought it topical.

Any mention of Johns struck a raw nerve with Lockyer

He screams in that distinctive trademarked husky voice: “Don’t you ever f*cking talk to me about that c—!”

The Queensland captain rushes across the room, showing the speed and elusiveness he’d built a career on. He grabs me by the neck and throws me against the wall.

“That pudgy little c— is nothing! You hear me? NOTHING!”

I wriggle hopelessly, concerned that this grapple tackle will lead to a floating bone of my own.

But in that moment, security comes rushing into the room in a bid to tear the rabid star off me. He clings on to my neck like a crab clinging on for life. Eventually, I am freed from his vice-like grip. It takes six heavy-set Polynesian men to do so.

He bellows at nobody in particular: “Who’s the best player in the world now, bitch!?” That wistful sparkle in his eyes now replaced by a maniacal glee.

They drag him out, his athletic body finally limp. “He called me a “black c—”, I hear him plead, as he’s towed out the door.

I sit down rubbing my neck and pour myself a strong Irish whiskey. I vocalise a few common phrases to test my voice.

I am O.K.

By Al McClintock

GWS hits 10,000 members, mostly Mormons

The Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL club has posted 10,000 members despite having not played a single game – thanks mostly to the pulling power of former NRL star and marquee recruit, Israel Folau.

Giants CEO Dale Holmes told ThePublicApology that most of the credit belonged to Folau, adding that he was key to the team’s continued push into rugby league heartland.

“Once Izzy [Folau] joined, so did all his brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles – plus the guys down at his local Mormon church, they got in on it too,” he said.

“But I’d say Izzy’s direct relatives made up almost 100% of the new recruits.”

Holmes said he was unsure whether any of the new members were not actually related to Folau by blood.

“Any more on top of the extended Folau family is a bonus,” he added.

By Dave Edwards




Argus Review possibly penned under the influence

The initial draft that led to the sweeping reforms of Australian cricket’s high performance structure was an emotive document that may have been penned under the influence of alcohol, ThePublicApology understands.

ThePublicApology has obtained leaked draft copies of the Argus Review, which contains far stronger language and opinions than the final version that was released last week.  The report was chaired by one of Australia’s most esteemed businessmen, Don Argus.  Originally hailing from Bundaberg, Argus’ corporate history includes a stint as National Australia Bank CEO; he has held several key board positions, including Chair of BHP Billiton, as well.

Argus earned the nickname “Don’t Argue” for his forceful business approach.  And this same attitude is evident in the pages of the unedited draft copies of the Argus Review where he, and other members of the review committee, make their opinions abundantly clear on the current state of the game in Australia.

Several key figures came in for heavy – and often deeply personal – criticism in the draft report.  As has been reported, former chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and national talent manager and selector Greg Chappell are first in the firing line.

Argus wasted no words on Chappell and Hilditch

Perhaps the key recommendation of the review is the appointment of a full-time national selector to head the selection panel previously chaired by part-timer Hilditch.  Additionally, Chappell is to be removed from the selection panel to focus on his role as national talent manager.

But in the documents obtained exclusively by ThePublicApology, Argus’ handwritten notes give the real story behind his recommendations.  South Australian lawyer Hilditch is described as “obviously severely mentally handicapped”, with Argus elaborating that he “wouldn’t even listen to him on what movie to see, let alone seek legal advice, fuck me!”  In regards to Chappell, Argus wastes no words, writing that “this wanker should have been put down after the 1981 underarm incident.”

However, Cricket Australia management and executives are not the only targets of Argus’ pithy, hand-written barbs.

While the final report – originally commissioned in response to Australia’s humiliating home Ashes defeat last summer – does not mention individual players, the draft provides an insight into Argus’ personal views on existing English and Australian players.  ThePublicApology can confirm that sitting Australian captain Michael Clarke was also at the receiving end of an Argus fend, along with several members of the England cricket team.

A wistful Argus laments the Australian team’s current leadership, writing that “it’s a pity Barbie and Ken [Michael Clarke and Shane Watson] have balls the size of sultanas… you can’t sing [victory song] Under the Southern Cross in the sheds after a win with a couple of Bacardi Breezers in hand.”  And Argus appears to think even less of the current English cricket team, which he describes as “a bunch of fucking saffas [South Africans] and dickheads.”  One scrawled note depicts fast-bowler Stuart Broad as “a soft-cock wanker who goes crying to daddy [current ICC match referee Chris Broad] every time something doesn’t go his way. Go blow-dry your hair, you muppet.”

Broad, urged to blow-dry his hair

Sadly, Argus’ hand writing noticeably deteriorates as the document continues, with the ink smeared with stains that, to this writer, appear to be that of moderately priced whiskey.  It is unclear at this stage whether he had been drinking while making his annotations, but several unrelated jibes do filter into the copy – including some less than flattering references to his long-suffering wife and mother of his three children, Pat.

“Pat’s been busting my balls again,” he writes. “Better keep her well away from Aussie cricket, she’ll suck the life out of it the way she’s done with me. Jesus, I’m more drained than Dean Jones was after his epic double century in Madras in 1985.”

The Argus Report ends on that sentence, with what appear to be tear drops staining the bottom of the final page.

By Hugh Holden