NRL: False Lockyer death reports has PNG fans in tears

NRL club Brisbane have had to reassure several PNG media outlets this week that Darren Lockyer still alive. Photo / Getty Images
NRL club Brisbane have had to reassure several PNG media outlets this week that Darren Lockyer still alive. Photo / Getty Images

Rugby league fans in Papua New Guinea were crying in the streets when untrue reports of Darren Lockyer's death swept the country this week.

NRL club Brisbane have had to reassure several PNG media outlets this week that their former champion five-eighth was in fact still a living legend.

Broncos media manager Marty Rowen received a telephone call from journalists representing PNG's Post Courier and National newspaper on Thursday wanting to know if he could confirm rumours Lockyer had been found dead in his house.

They said they were following up rumours police were investigating Lockyer's death and that a post mortem would be conducted to confirm the cause of death.

"I told them I'd ring him (Lockyer) and find out,'' an amused Rowen, who had hosted a lunch with Lockyer at the Broncos club on Thursday, told AAP.

"I got about eight to 10 calls.

"I got calls from newspapers and radio outlets and the club's switchboard took dozens of calls as well.

"I assured all of them Lockyer was still a living legend.''

Rowen sent an email off to PNG officials stating reports of Lockyer's death were "false''.

Brad Tassell, who's heading up PNG's bold bid to enter the NRL when the new commission decides on expansion, also received numerous calls from PNG contacts chasing up the Lockyer rumour.

Tassell also saw an email saying Lockyer been found dead in his house, prompting him to send a media release on behalf of the group noting it was all a hoax.

"You have to understand Darren is God in PNG and there were people upset and crying,'' Tassell told AAP on Saturday.

"I had to shoot off an email to assure PNG people the reports were a hoax.''

Luckily Lockyer found the reports very funny.

"You had to laugh,'' said Lockyer whose life-like bronze statue was unveiled at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.

- AAP

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