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A centre partnership to cherish

lsz

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Talk to Steve Matai about Jamie Lyon and ‘the other centre’ smiles.

“Jamie is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, one of the best players I’ve ever played with,’’ Matai said.

“Here at Manly, I’ve always been ‘the other centre’ outside of Jamie, and that suits me fine.

“I’m just honoured, happy and blessed to be ‘Killer’s’ centre partner for the past 10 years. I’m very grateful.”

Centre partners and Life Members of Manly. Four grand finals and two premierships together. A massive 444 games for Manly between them.

A bond that never will be broken outside the football field.

Through the tortures of pre-summer training, the heavy sweat of gym work, team videos, the endless travel, to the gruelling physical demands of the season on their ageing bodies, Lyon and Matai have been together.

Over the years, Matai has loved the soft nature and the calming influence of Lyon, the man nick-named ‘Killer’.

Matai admits he will miss that dry country humour from the boy from Narrabri when 34-year-old Lyon retires at the end of the season.

“For sure, whether it be on the team bus, or in the change rooms, Jamie is just so funny,’’ Matai said.

“He is so uplifting. You never see Jamie in a bad mood or angry at anybody. That just shows the person and the man he is. He is a great family man.”

When the Sea Eagles launched their 2016 Season at Luna Park, there were plenty of smiles at the famous harbour landmark as it was a night which saw Matai, Lyon and their ‘great mate’ Brett Stewart presented with Life Membership together.

Matai couldn’t attend, choosing to be by the side of his pregnant partner, Kate, as they waited for the birth of their third child. Family is important to Lyon and Matai with both making themselves unavailable for representative teams in the past to be with their young families.

“The Life Membership is something now that we will take to the grave. The three of us are now bonded for life,’’ Matai said.

“We always were, but it just makes even more so that we got to share that experience together.”

And whilst they do socialise together, the one place where you won’t see Lyon and Matai together much is on the golf course.

“I am not a big golfer. ‘Killer’ is always asking me to come and have a hit with him. But my shoulder and neck has never been up to par, pardon the par,’’ said a laughing Matai.

“Jamie is always out playing golf with the Trbojevic brothers. He just lives and breathes golf.”

And just like they have for the past 10 years, Matai and Lyon will continue to give their all for the Sea Eagles for the remainder of the season until the full-time whistle is blown on their last game together.

“Jamie’s decision to retire gives us more motivation to send him out the best way we know how, that’s by winning and hopefully giving him a premiership ring to walk away with to go along with his other two,” Matai said.

Lyon will then happily walk off into the sunset, one more than likely overlooking a lush golf course on the Northern Beaches. Awaiting him will be his family and plenty of fairways to hit.

“I’m just blessed and honoured to call Jamie my mate. I am very, very happy for him,” Matai added.

“Manly will always be his home. He won’t ever be far away. He will be somewhere on the golf course.”

Jamie Lyon

Manly: 215 games, 84 tries, 512 goals, 1360 points; Career: 285 games, 120 tries, 512 goals, 1504 points.

Steve Matai

Manly/Career: 229 games, 91 tries, 20 goals, 404 points.

http://www.seaeagles.com.au/news/2016/04/28/a_partnership_to_che.html
 

Woodsie

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Just thinking, have any two players ever played as many games in the same team together?

Is this a record partnership? Not many players reach 200 games, to play them together is special.
 

globaleagle

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a nice article about 2 great centres. A bit too much spent on waxing lyrical about the new contrived life memberships (a zorba order?) But they'll get there's from the real hub soon enough!
 

Mark from Brisbane

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In fact it's our " big 3" Skivvy, Killer and Snake that's been the cornerstone of our backline for a decade.

We will certainly miss them BUT it's time to unearth another " big 3" or big 5.

Bring it on Bozo
 

IQofalimabean

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Manly have been blessed to have the 2 best centers in the game for a number of years. Those 2 and brett stewart being in the team usually meant we would challenge for the title.
 

Talons

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Great article. One of the best centre combinations of all time. They have complimented each other so well over the years. Matai's tough as nails brutal approach complimented with Lyon's finesse and silky smooth skills. Both will be missed when stumps are called.
 

Chip and Chase

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Just thinking, have any two players ever played as many games in the same team together?

Is this a record partnership? Not many players reach 200 games, to play them together is special.
As far as centre pairings go I can't think of any that have played over 200 games together. ET and Sparkles probably racked up a few, as would have Hannay and Bowman I presume. Cooper and Gasnier are another long term pair.
 

mozgrame

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2 great players. 2 great blokes. Both as tough as teak. Genuine tough, never say die players are a blessing to any side. Jamie will have to get used to these types of write ups this year.

From journo's to other clubs fans, players past and present, our fans, team mates and club officials from all 16 clubs and most of the English Super League....you will have to travel far and wide to find anyone that will have a bad word to say about the bloke. And to have that respect and admiration after such a long and colourful career....well, that's another milestone in itself.

Well done Jamie! You played the game brilliantly, and you played it by your own rules.
 

Fluffy

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Not sure if they have played 200 together as both have played some games when the other was injured.
 

Crusher_Cleal

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I always thought it'd be impossible to better Hill/Innes, but these 2 proved me wrong.
 

Killer03

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What an amazing partnership these two have forged. I always saw Matai as the bash and barge centre, whilst Jamie was the one with the skills and finesse. The last couple of years I have really come to appreciate Stevie's skills.
 

HappilyManly

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Not sure if they have played 200 together as both have played some games when the other was injured.
Killer was rarely injured. Matai on the otherhand was sidelined a few times by Officials :giggle:

But 11 years together is a remarkable partnership in such a physical arena :clap:
 

globaleagle

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Killer was rarely injured. Matai on the otherhand was sidelined a few times by Officials :giggle:

But 11 years together is a remarkable partnership in such a physical arena :clap:

Longer than some marriages! (Possibly more productive than some as well!)

:giggle:
 
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