Manly coach Trent Barrett expects his team to use Jamie Lyon’s decision to retire at season’s end as motivation for NRL premiership glory.
Lyon on Wednesday when he announced that he would hang up the boots at the end of the year, bringing closure to a decorated 17-year career.
And on the eve of Saturday’s NRL clash against reigning premiers North Queensland, Barrett said his skipper deserved to be sent out a winner.
“Jamie was relieved to get the decision out of the road. We’ve been talking about it for a while and it gives Killer a chance to really enjoy the last 20-odd weeks of footy,” Barrett said.
“I think we need to just send him out in the fashion that he deserves.
“He’s a champion player, he’s a great of this club and will go down as one of the best centres of his generation. Not only that, he’s a champion bloke, Jamie.”
Barrett revealed the club had given the two-time premiership-winner an opportunity to play on in 2017, but said Lyon had decided that enough was enough.
“He probably could’ve (played on), but he’s made that decision now and I’m happy for him. He’s got a young family who he can spend some more time with next year, but we’ve got some work to do first,” he said.
Lyon’s farewell begins at home against the defending premiers, who have won four on the bounce to sit second on the ladder with a full roster at their disposal.
The Sea Eagles, by contrast, are set to rush in former Cowboy Matthew Wright just three days after leaving Townsville for a three-year deal at Brookvale.
Wright is certain to be thrust into a backline now missing Brett Stewart (hamstring), Tom Trbojevic (ankle), Jorge Taufua (collarbone) and Tim Moltzen (knee).
Utility Api Koroisau (ribs) is also rated a 50-50 chance of playing.
The Cowboys are set to field the same 17 that edged out Parramatta last week.
STATS THAT MATTER
* Jamie Lyon has converted 22 of his past 23 shots on goal.
* Brett Stewart is just one try away from entering the top five leading tryscorers of all time. He is trailing Terry Lamb in fifth by one try, and Andrew Ettingshausen in fourth by two.
* Brayden Wiliame scored a try and got his first career win in his 14th career game in last week’s win over Newcastle.