JAMIE Lyon is the player NSW will miss more than anyone in the first Origin clash against Queensland on Wednesday.
By rights the NRL’s form centre should be in Melbourne with the Blues.
But after making himself unavailable, Lyon will instead be a key man for Manly against the Roosters at Brookvale tomorrow.
“He has settled down here, he has done all that before,” Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey said of the Sea Eagles co-captain.
“He really wants to concentrate 100 per cent on the club which we are grateful for. But in saying that I think the Blues would be disappointed he is not playing for them.”
After working closely with Lyon, Toovey appreciates better than anyone the tremendous value Lyon provides his squad.
“He is like a fine wine - I know it’s a cliche - he is just getting better and better,” Toovey said.
“I have seen with several players over my career, the older you get the harder you have to train to keep up.
“Jamie Lyon has had the biggest off-season I can recall him having.”
Origin has greatly disrupted the Sea Eagles for tomorrow’s game, with Glenn and Brett Stewart, Jamie Buhrer and Tony Williams all in Melbourne.
But the Sea Eagles have consistently shown they have the character to rise and handle adversity.
“We’ve had plenty of injuries and a suspension early in the year,” Toovey said. “We have been here before and no doubt we will be here again.
“But I’m quietly confident we will do a good job.”
Sea Eagles fellow co-captain Jason King said it was fantastic Lyon is playing tomorrow.
“Whenever Jamie puts on a Manly jersey it’s a bonus,” King said.
He said Lyon showed what a class act he is last Friday against the Broncos with his play that set up the last minute winning try for winger David Williams.