Teenage rookie Brad Parker has put his hand up to lead a regeneration of Manly’s backline over the summer as the club begins to move into the post-Jamie Lyon era.
On the same day it was revealed Lyon’s problematic hamstring is set to deny him a Brookvale Oval farewell, local product Parker scored two tries and was a lone bright spot in a 38-18 loss to Melbourne.
With Lyon set to retire at the end of the year and the future of stalwarts Steve Matai and Brett Stewart under a cloud, the Sea Eagles’ are likely to feature a new-look backline in 2017.
And, in the second game of his career, Parker added a team-high four tackle breaks to leave a lasting impression on first-year coach Trent Barrett.
“You can’t look at the semi-finals but it’s an opportunity for guys like Brad, who’s still eligible to play NYC … He’s only a year out of (SG Ball),” Barrett said.
“He was terrific tonight. He did a really good job for us when we beat the Warriors seven weeks ago and he was terrific again tonight.”
Lyon was a surprise pre-game withdrawal on Saturday night, with Barrett later revealing that the two-time premiership-winner re-aggravated a hamstring injury that has plagued his entire 2016 campaign.
The 34-year-old is now considered unlikely to play in the club’s final home game of the year next week.
“Which is massive shame for us,” Barrett said.
“Whilst he’ll do everything he can to get there, it’s not looking great at this stage and he’s devastated, obviously. He hurt it yesterday in the captains’ run.
“That’s something we’ll have to manage and cross our fingers and toes that he can (play), because he’s been a wonderful, wonderful player for the club and we want to send him out on the right note.”
The defeat against the Storm means the Sea Eagles have just three wins at home this year, their fewest since winning two of five back in 1965, and are on track for their lowest finish since 2004.