PARRAMATTA last night asked the NRL to investigate Manly for possible anti-tampering involving St Helens centre Jamie Lyon.
Eels chief executive Denis Fitzgerald contacted NRL chief executive David Gallop and salary cap auditor Ian Schubert to probe Manly's interest in Lyon.
The drama came as incoming Parramatta coach Michael Hagan claimed he had made contact with Lyon about a return to the Eels.
Rugby League Week magazine this week quoted an unnamed Manly official saying: "We were confident we had him [Lyon]."
Fitzgerald read the article and claims Manly may have breached the anti-tampering rules by negotiating with Lyon - still contracted to Parramatta - before the June 30 deadline.
"I have asked the NRL to investigate whether Manly has breached the anti-tampering rules," Fitzgerald said.
"A story has appeared quoting a Manly official saying: 'We were confident we had him'.
"Jamie Lyon is still contracted to Parramatta. He was given a conditional release to join St Helens."
Manly deny any of their officials spoke to the magazine.
"No Manly official has said that," said Sea Eagles chief executive Patrick Wilson.
"We have complied with all the regulations. We deny having spoken to Jamie or his representatives."
Veteran journalist Tony Adams, who wrote the story, said he would "not reveal his source".
Schubert had contacted Wilson last night.
Wilson said his club would be "absolved".
Meanwhile Hagan spoke to Lyon this week, despite most believing if the former Test centre returned to Australia it would be with Manly.
"I was under the impression he had all but agreed to go to Manly," Hagan said yesterday.
"But I don't know if that is the case.
"The phone call was just touching base with him from a coach's perspective and to get a feel for his plans - to see if he hasn't agreed to anything anywhere else.
"I just wanted to see whether there was some interest there."
Asked if there was, Hagan said: "I think so."
Fitzgerald said his club's senior players would be asked whether they favoured Lyon returning.
Lyon walked out on the club just one match into the 2004 season.
"I'm not saying we're keen or that we're not keen," Fitzgerald said.
"If he is keen to play with Parramatta, if the coach is keen, if the senior players want him back and if he can fit under the salary cap, then we'd consider it."
Eels Test forward Nathan Hindmarsh was cautious about a possible Lyon comeback.
"To tell you the truth, I wasn't too happy with the way he handled it [in 2004]," Hindmarsh said.
"If he [walked out] again, I'd be really p..... off.
"There's nothing to forgive him for - he didn't want to be here. He could have done it [align=left] a bit better but I don't hold grudges.
"He's a champion and anyone would be happy to have him in their side. The only problem would be where would you fit him in."
The Daily Telegraph