One of the more memorable episodes of this year’s NRL finals series has to be the hardy guts and miraculous strapping that was Jamie Lyon’s bucking of medical lore last week.
To the gritty Manly man, I say kudos. There is no doubt his legend has further expanded after that fine display of indestructibility.
It’s another shimmering jewel added to an already-majestic rugby league reputation, thanks to him fronting up to play a cut-throat finals match on a skittish calf muscle that was high as a kite on painkillers.
Earlier in the week, said leg was pronounced as certified mince meat, but not only did he merely survive on the turf of the SFS, he prospered, performed and proficiently piloted his charges to within another step of title glory.
Lyon was deservedly showered with a roaring watercourse of concrete-tough footy superlatives in the days following the win over the Cowboys.
For a man who has conquered it all over the journey of 204 first grade games, he can now add work experience in the roles of ‘unbreakable bastard’ and ‘team-orientated needle cushion’ to his bulging resume, which is already shining brightly enough as it is.
From representing his state and country, to captaining a premiership win as well as consistently pummelling opponents down his channel, it’s a record of surplus cachet that encompasses all of the sport’s feathers of expertise and achievement.
In to what section of the stratosphere his profile shall lift if he manages to haul his Sea Eagles to further glory in 2012 is an unknown. We may need a bulky thesaurus on eastern European performance-enhancers to capture the moment should it happen.
Regardless, his dossier of ticked boxes along with his lucid footballing qualities should have bought him widespread treasure status in our game by now, and here’s where the little party-poop crashes this back-slapping piece.
‘Killer’ my man, I’m afraid you may be recorded in rugby league annals with an asterisk next to your name.
I am in no way diminishing his ability to palm, step and ball-and-all with the best of them, but it has to be acknowledged that regardless of his long and continuing string of feats on the field, the heat map of affection for him wanes heavily outside of the Manly precinct.
The diagram freezes to form spiky icicles in the Parramatta region, but that’s another story.
The reason for this territorial change from unconditional worship to frustrated respect is because he chooses to stand idly by and watch as his home state flounders in failure on the Origin stage.
I’m sure he’s probably noticed that it’s all hands on deck at state level right now. So why does this blinding force that would be a walk-up start to the sky blue ranks as a high-ranking corporal gather dust when state lines are re-marked?
It’s because Lyon prefers to state his allegiance to the insular peninsula rather than the whole state. And it’s a burr in our backsides that we can’t quite completely extract.
On a human level, the welfare for his legacy concerns me. I stare blankly in to the bottom of a jar and ponder: how will he be remembered?
He’s in a rich crossover phase of a career where the worlds of his traits are colliding. At this moment, he’s a blend of his youthful days as a track-scorching force of attack and his current makeup of a stoic leader with ultimate footy nous. It’s a more than handy skill set.
We the people of NSW are prepared to break bread with Lyon, which in business speak translates to “we forgive you, we are desperate and we’ll even give you your own room in camp far from the snorers, farters and messy rookies.”
He can cement a deserved position among the eulogised greats of rugby league’s register of demigods by releasing the burden of whatever has irked him in the past and ending his self-imposed exile from our yearly drubbing by the Maroons.
Killer old boy, the opportunity for statewide adulation is there. You can convince everyone to see that asterisk as a star.
Except out at Parra Leagues. I’m pretty sure you have a life ban in those parts.