So, Leicester City only have to beat United this Sunday evening to take out their first top-flight league title. This is a team who was playing the Championship not three years ago.
The Western Sydney Wanderers have booked their third Grand Final in their short four-year history and are hoping it’s third-time lucky on Sunday afternoon. This is a team who didn’t exist five years ago.
Yes, this is one of the most exciting weeks in sport in recent memory. Today though, I don’t want to talk about newbies – I want to talk about oldies.
As pumped as I am about the Spurs falling short that close to glory and my boys from the Golden West shooting for the title, I wanted to dedicate this week to a more earnest topic.
This week, I want to talk about sporting mainstays.
I want to talk about seasoned veterans.
I want to talk about Jamie Lyon.
Yes, the man they called Killer announced today he’s finally hanging the boots up on his illustrious career – a career that has so far, spanned 215 first-grade games, 8 tests and 10 Origins.
As if Trent Barrett didn’t have enough problems.
But for a man who has played four Grand Finals with the Sea Eagles, won two premierships and has been a leading figure in the Manly side over the past ten years, it is sad to think such a loyal servant of the game is leaving after so many years.
It’s the kind of feeling you got when Darren Lockyer retired, or when Nathan Hindmarsh said his final goodbyes.
They’re men whose names are synonymous with the one-club – entrenched in loyalty. Acknowledging the fact that Lyon did play for Parramatta at the start of his career, Manly fans will certainly be the ones losing the most sleep after hearing the news.
One of the most interesting notes to take out of Lyon’s career was his boycotting of representative honours. In a reaction to relentless criticism in 2010, Lyon announced he would henceforth refuse to take part in representative football. It is a man who stood by his decision amid pleas from coaches and fans to return to the top level.
“When I first came back from England, I made a couple of teams and I got hammered,” he said,” Lyon told the Courier Mail in 2012.
“Confidence-wise, it knocked me around and as bad as it sounds, I probably don’t have the hunger to compete at that level anymore.’’
Had Lyon chosen to reclaim his right-centre position in the NSW State of Origin and Australian international sides, he would surely have been a mainstay of the camps.
It would have been a selection that might have cemented David ‘Wolfman’ Williams’s place at the top level, possibly being called up to bring his lethal club combination with Lyon to the representative stage.
One might then ask, would Lyon have left the same legacy had he stepped up to higher honours?
Frankly, in the eyes of this reporter, Jamie Lyon has all the respect in the world.
He was a smart player, a matured captain and a friendly family man. A true role model for the younger generation.
And while he presents a headache for under-pressure coach Trent Barrett, Lyon will sorely be missed in the game of Rugby League, and we wish him all the best for the future.
He’s still a good player and it’s going to be hard to watch Manly games without him leading the side.
Thanks, Killer. You absolutely killed it.