Cliffy still playing

First Grader
Lyons to work his magic at Harbord
JASON AVEDISSIAN
26feb05

HE may be retired from the NRL, but Cliff Lyons is still the closest thing rugby league has to American magician David Copperfield.

Lyons could probably pull a rabbit out of a hat if he really wanted to. He is that gifted.

``He's still got all the skills,'' former Manly teammate Luke Phillips said ahead of today's inaugural Valley 8's tournament at Harbord Park.

``He's a very smart footballer.

``Even now there's no one in the game like him.

``He could probably still play first grade if it was unlimited interchange.''

Lyons, who will play for Narraweena today, also believes he could still cut it at the top level.

``I don't doubt that,'' the 43-year-old said.

``I probably don't have the speed, but I've got the knowledge.''

Phillips will also run around, with Forestville, but left a distinct impression he would rather have Lyons in his corner.

And who could blame him?

In 1998, Phillips got a glimpse of the Lyons mystique in the former international's final year in Manly colours.

``It was pretty emotional for him and a lot of supporters,'' Phillips said of Lyons' last game at Brookvale Oval.

``I was lucky enough that I got to play alongside him.

``He's just one of those legends.''

Typically, Lyons shrugs his shoulders and deflects any praise.

He simply wants to get out there and put his mates through gaps.

``A bit of razzle-dazzle doesn't hurt,'' Lyons said.

Narraweena will meet Phillips and the Ferrets in a pool match.

Teams from the Manly A grade competition will join sides from Tugun, Macksville, Dubbo, North Ryde, St Marys, Fiji A and Manly Police for today's tournament.

The Police boys and Newtown will kick-off proceedings from 9am.

The final is scheduled for 5.10pm.
 

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