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Lyon in sights of UK again

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by clontaago, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

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    ENGLISH club Warrington is ready to test Manly's determination to hold on to Jamie Lyon by launching a multi-million dollar bid to lure the former NSW and Australia centre back to the northern hemisphere.

    Warrington has earmarked Lyon as the man to replace former Britain centre Martin Gleeson and is willing to pay the Sea Eagles $1million to gain his release.

    Lyon, who only returned to the NRL last season after a two-year stint with English side St Helens, is in the second year of a lucrative four-year deal with Manly.

    Despite playing two State of Origin games for NSW last year, he has struggled to rediscover the form which made him a representative regular during the early stages of his career.

    He has also struggled to find a permanent home at five-eighth - the position he was recruited to fill at Manly - and has been forced to play a lot at centre.

    Although he has failed to live up to his billing since returning, Lyon still has a huge reputation from his time in England. He would be rewarded with a long-term deal worth upwards of $1.6 million over four seasons if he leaves.

    Should Lyon return to England, he would become the latest in a host of players to opt for the UK over the NRL. The issue of players quitting Australia is set to be discussed at tomorrow's meeting of club chief executives in Sydney.

    Gleeson, who was born in England but spent several of his formative years in Queensland after his family emigrated, has started contacting NRL clubs to gauge interest.

    His desire to leave England is understood to be based on personal issues, although he has previously stated his interest in playing in the NRL.

    Melbourne recruitment manager Frank Ponissi confirmed Gleeson had contacted his club, while the ex-international is also believed to have sounded out Brisbane, a club which has money to spend given the departure of utility Joel Moon and the expected exit of Queensland winger Darius Boyd.

    Moon will play with the Warriors next season while Boyd is expected to join Wayne Bennett at St George Illawarra.

    Ponissi admitted the Storm could be interested in 28-year-old Gleeson.

    "We heard he would like to play in Australia at some stage of his career," Ponissi said.

    "We have heard that in the past from other players. Sometimes it comes off, as with Gareth Ellis (who will join Wests Tigers next season).

    "We'll see what happens."

    Melbourne has a star-studded line-up but it has room to manoeuvre under the salary cap with the loss of international forwards Michael Crocker and Jeremy Smith for next season.

    Crocker will join English club Hull while Smith is on his way to the Dragons.

    The club also has a vacancy in the centres with Israel Folau's decision to join Brisbane.

    "We have to decide whether we get a backrower to replace Crocker and Smith, or go for a centre," Ponissi said.

    "If he (Gleeson) can get cleared and we have space available, we would look at it."
     

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