Cliffy flies back into the Sea Eagles fold
Manly icons Crusher Cleal and Dessie Hasler may have left the club, but another Sea Eagles legend has rejoined the ranks.
Former Australian and NSW representative Cliff Lyons has been appointed as Manly’s NSW Cup coach for 2012. Lyons returns to the Sea Eagles are leading the Narraweena Hawks to back-to-back premierships in Manly’s A-Grade competition.
Cliffy will be assisting his former scrumbase partner Geoff Toovey in his year in charge at the club.
The signing of Lyons is another positive sign for Manly after the club suffered mass defections to the Bulldogs following the 2011 NRL grand final win.
It follows the mantra of supporting its own, and rewards Lyons who has earned his stripes as a coach in the local rugby league competition.
As a player, Lyons vision of the game and his instincts on the field were second to none. He was a great tactician, an attacking maestro who could set up a try when nothing was on.
Cliffy’s awesome ball-playing skills helped Manly reach four grand finals in his long career, with two wins.
His knowledge of the game is supreme and if he can impart only a sliver of what he brought to the field in the maroon and white, it will be an inspired signing. No doubt his impact will continue the development of Manly’s young halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Keiran Foran. Andrew Johns’ coaching influence may have left the club but Cliffy can fill this void.
Lyons has already had success in his coaching career, and as an icon of the club, he will play an important role in continuing Manly’s traditions at a crucial time for the Brookvale outfit.
He knows the culture of Manly and importantly knows the local rugby league nursery well, so he may be able to unearth a few new gems from the area.
Bringing back a club legend is not a policy that guarantees success – you only need to look at Kevin Moore coaching at the Bulldogs or David Furner at the Raiders to see that – and it is often fraught with danger. But I think Cliffy possesses the background, the experience and skills to help rebuild the battered Brookvale outfit. He should be a wise and calming, familiar influence, which is what Manly needs.
When Toovey’s appointment was announced there was speculation that Lyons and the man who ran off him with the most success, Steve Menzies, would join the coaching ranks.
It appears Beaver is staying in the English Super League for now, but the return of one of the old guard is good news for the Sea Eagles.
The addition of Lyons, and the resigning of local product and club co-captain Jason King for three years, are great signs as Manly prepares for the 2012 season.
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