When asked why he loves playing in the NRL, Manly captain Jamie Lyon answers with tongue firmly in cheek: “Probably the spare time to play a bit of golf, I’d say.”
The Wee Waa junior, part-time pig hunter and unabashed golf enthusiast will amass his 200th appearance for the Sea Eagles on Monday against Gold Coast, and says his devotion to club burns as strong as ever.
“It’s a massive part of my life, I’ve been here for a few years now,” said the 33-year-old.
“I love the club, the tradition of the place and hopefully (I’ll) do a couple more years here and still be successful.”
Since his debut for Manly against round one 2007, Lyon has gone on to win two premierships with the Sea Eagles in 2008 and 2011.
He has also represented New South Wales on 10 occasions, and Australia eight times.
Although this year he has been hampered by minor injuries, Lyon’s return to the Manly line-up last week oversaw a comfortable 28-16 win over Cronulla, to keep them in the hunt for their 11th successive finals appearance.
Lyon has another year left on his deal, but hopes to continue beyond that.
“That’ll be the gameplan, to play as long as I can, and hopefully play some good footy in between that as well,” said Lyon, who coach Geoff Toovey said could be switched from the centres to five-eighth to cover for the loss of Kieran Foran next season.
Manly hooker Matt Ballin was effusive in his praise of the Manly captain.
“I feel privileged to be involved in the game he’s going to be playing this weekend,” Ballin said.
“I’ve always watched him, coming through the ranks and playing first grade with him, and I admire how he handles himself on and off the field, he’s a great person for the game of rugby league.”