Rose ready for Lyon and co
Hard-hitting Sea Eagles prop George Rose let Manly teammate Jamie Lyon get the better of him almost 20 years ago, but tomorrow night he is determined to settle the score when they become rivals again in the 2011 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars at the Gold Coast.
Rose, 27, hasn't forgotten how Lyon, who "had a growth spurt" and towered over him in under 10s, ran all over him back then. Nor has he forgotten how the NRL All Stars tried to do the same in last year's inaugural match, so he will be more than ready for Lyon and his teammates from kick-off at Skilled Park.
While most of the talk has been about the Indigenous team setting the tone for a harder-than-expected match in 2010 because of the added emotion of the occasion, Rose strongly believes it was the NRL team that set the tone. And he should know. He took the first hit-up.
"I thought they were the ones who took it up a notch," Rose said. "I got the first run and it felt like eight people smashed me.
"They set the standard from the first set of defence. It was massive. I'll be ready this time."
Rose expects to shoulder some more responsibility this year in the absence of injured international prop Sam Thaiday and wants his "actions to do the talking".
"That was one of the worst things I heard when Sam was ruled out," he said. "In this game last year and throughout the season, he had a great year. I'm not sure how we can ovcercome his absence. We will all have to give a little bit extra.
"Like Sam, a lot of the boys in this side went on to have a great season in the NRL and got rep honours. It was a good kickstart for the season for them.
"Unfortunately that didn't happen for me though ... I got injured early on and had a suspension."
Rose said being involved with the inaugural All Stars had been an "unbelievable" experience and he hoped to be involved with it "as long as I can".
"This game gives a lot of people confidence to do things on the field they would not usually have a crack at," he said.
"Just being around players like Johnathan Thurston ... the best players in the game ... hanging around with them. It's pretty unbelievable."
Lyon, 29, once a reluctant representative player, agreed and was very keen to be selected in the NRL All Stars. He said he can't wait to play tomorrow night.
"I love the whole concept of the game and being around some of the players from other clubs that you wouldn't get a chance to play with ... some of the best players in the game.
"I'm really looking forward to playing with the big guns like Benji Marshall and Darren Lockyer and also some of the exciting new players like Josh Dugan and Akuila Uate, who are playing good football."
Lyon's much-publicised reluctance to play rep footy came at a time when he had two young children under two years of age. Now they are aged four and five, and although he has had a third child recently, managing a young family and his football career has become easier ... so rep footy is definitely on the radar.
"Origin is definitely up there as a goal for the season ... I'd love the opportunty to play again," he said.
"I also want to play good footy for the club and finish in the top four."