Lewis wants to lead again, but Penrith captaincy can take back seat if needed
Oh captain, my captain … Luke Lewis savours NSW's Origin II victory with Blues skipper Paul Gallen last week. Photo: Getty Images
LUKE LEWIS has decided he wants the Penrith captaincy back when the State of Origin series is over - but won't have any problem if Kevin Kingston remains in charge.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary shocked Lewis by taking the captaincy off him late last month, saying that while Lewis was spending time away with the NSW team during the Origin series it was better they had a captain who was going to be there all the time.
Cleary said it was his plan to hand the captaincy back to Lewis once the Origin series was over, but Lewis was so upset, he said he didn't know whether he would want it back and would need more time to consider.
Yesterday, at a Women in League function where he was a guest, Lewis said he had made up his mind. He said that, once the Origin series was over, he would like to play a game or two at Penrith to get back in the swing of things and then resume as captain.
''I do want it back, but I want to make sure my football is the best it can be,'' Lewis said.
''All I am worried about is I want to be playing the best I can for the team, for the boys and for myself.
''If I can do that, everything else will follow.
''I will see how my football is going first, see how I am playing and go from there. Get my head right, get my body right and just try to get my game going forward first. I think I owe the team and the club that before I say, 'This is what I want to do'.''
''It [the captaincy] is a massive honour, but at the end of the day I just want to be playing well. I want to let my football do the talking.''
Asked if he would be OK with hooker Kingston continuing as captain, should Cleary decide he wants to keep it that way, Lewis replied: ''I would say, 'Yeah, I'm all for it'. If we're winning games and playing good footy I really don't care.''
Lewis said he understood why Cleary made the decision and said he was not at war with the coach over it.
''I respect the club's decision,'' he said. ''They were spot on with how hard it is to play an Origin game, let alone worrying about your team back home. It was good to get into camp and have no worries.
''Ivan said to myself and the team that when Origin is all over, the plan was for me to get the captaincy back. If that's what's best for the team, that's what's best for the team. I love our team to death, I love the club to death. I want to do what's best for the club.
''Me and Ivan, we're on the same wavelength. He understands where I'm at and how I want to get my game right, not just for him but for the boys and the club.
''He is willing to do whatever is best for me and the team.''