Teammates pay tribute to retiring leader Lyon
In a perfect world, Sea Eagles legend Jamie Lyon would be leading his side onto Brookvale Oval for the final time when Manly host the Canberra Raiders on Saturday afternoon.
But sport can be a cruel beast.
The 34-year-old confirmed he would miss this weekend's game with a hamstring injury and indicated he was unlikely to return against the Panthers in Round 26, thus bringing an end to a storied 294-game career in the NRL.
Tributes have been flowing all week from his brethren in the rugby league community, and on Tuesday, Lyon's teammates explained what the two-time premiership winning centre meant to them.
"When he's on the field, he's the ultimate competitor and you just love having blokes like that to play alongside because you feed off them," Jake Trbojevic said.
"He's been here for the last decade – been a great leader – and probably been one of the best players to play for the club. With someone like him, you strive to have a career like that.
"He's really pretty to watch – the things he did, he made them look easy. He's a real competitor, and you can't teach that. To be a player like that would be awesome.
"It's disappointing because we'd like to send him off on a high, especially at Brookie. But that's the way it is. It's still going to be a great day down at Brookie celebrating his career.
"He's done it all in the game so we've just got to get down there and hopefully put our best foot forward for him and try to get a win for him because the day will be about him."
For Jake and his younger brother Tom, growing up on the northern beaches meant watching Lyon rip in for the Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoons at Brookvale Oval.
The siblings have been touted as the future of the club and it's clear they've had a good teacher in Lyon.
"He's a great bloke, a great mate, he's been a real role model for both of us and he's been a great leader at this club. He's done it all in the game, and outside of footy he's a great role model," Jake said.
"I still remember growing up and sitting on Brookie Hill and watching Jamie Lyon play. The way he played the game, he's one of the best ever. To put on a Manly jumper and get to know him off the field…he's an even better bloke," Tom added.
Daly Cherry-Evans started life as an NRL player the best way possible winning a premiership in his debut season, and the 27-year-old credited Lyon's guidance for making him the player he is today.
"It's going to be different, and I daresay it will be difficult at different stages without him out there. He's been a player that I've definitely relied on over the last six years of my career," the Sea Eagles halfback said.
"He's been a role model both on and off the field. I've definitely admired the way he's been able to stay at such a high level and that's how you earn so much respect in this game.
"His relaxed demeanour – not just at training – but on a football field as well is something that I've admired and something that I've tried to take form Jamie.
"Playing alongside him is a satisfying feeling when your captain is the most level-headed person on the field."
Sea Eagles backrower Jamie Buhrer said he had done everything to try to convince his skipper to run out one last time, but conceded Lyon was too honourable to put himself ahead of the team.
"I've been spending most of the weekend trying to convince him to kind of needle himself up and get himself out there," Buhrer said.
"He's a very unselfish person and unless he's 100 per cent, there's no way that he'd go out there, even though I believe he deserves it. He deserves to be a bit selfish and go out there and limp about for 80 minutes."
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