Lyon’s Killer chance for true stardom

Dane Eldridge Columnist

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    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.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • September 21st 2012 @ 6:48am
      Manly Man said | September 21st 2012 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      Lyon doesn’t play origin because he can’t be away from his family for so long, which is more important considering he’s already had dramas with incidents within his family during his time at parramatta and they didn’t give him time to visit them in hospital that’s why he left parramatta.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 7:33am
      Andy said | September 21st 2012 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      “It’s because Lyon prefers to state his allegiance to the insular peninsula rather than the whole state.” Lyon retired from rep footy, but they want to force him to play. Good on him for sticking to his word. He is getting to the end of his career, and he wants to be able to earn a living at club level for as long as possible.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 8:45am
      planko said | September 21st 2012 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Personally I think Lyon is trailblazer and only throwing a lot of money at the players will stop the exodus from origin for one last big contract at club level. I am not suggesting guys in the early twenties will not won’t to play orgin however at 27 and 28 when you have played for a Australia. When you have played a 12 to 20 origin games. Your club makes you your dream offer…. Your final big payday but it may not be written down but you go home look at the kids and go well maybe I need to make sure I can play out this 4 years. The club won’t be silly enough to write it down but it is conditional a on press conference where you announce you retirement from rep footy.

    • September 21st 2012 @ 9:20am
      Les said | September 21st 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

      Well Dane all you can find to bag a true champion is to question his loyalty.
      The weak premise you peddle is flawed.
      Jamie Lyon has shown that he puts family and club first and that in itself is enough to show that he is a genuine champion.
      To cast dispersion on his time at Parra without any reference to the facts is disengenouis.

      • September 21st 2012 @ 4:52pm
        bian said | September 21st 2012 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

        i think you are correct

    • September 21st 2012 @ 1:09pm
      Jimbo said | September 21st 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

      People criticised his selection mercilessly when he was selected for NSW after coming back from St Helens, and quite frankly, he never really performed at origin level following his return from England. Now seemingly the same people who didn’t want him selected in the first instance are criticising him for not wanting to be selected. Surely it is better that a player is upfront about not wanting to play origin, than being selected when their heart isn’t in the game.

      • September 21st 2012 @ 2:22pm
        Mals said | September 21st 2012 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

        Exactly! New South Welshman can thank the former Parramatta players lead by Peter Stirling for Lyon retiring from rep footy.

    • September 25th 2012 @ 2:05pm
      Tony Archers Maroon Underwear said | September 25th 2012 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      Good on him
      His club is real, his family is real
      Origin is a sad farce bereft of any real meaning, that’s why the players want more money for it.
      Personally I respect his stance it shows a real strength of character not to buy into the media hype and expectations.
      If only Parra had been smart enough to hang on to him.

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