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How good was Cliffy

eagle66

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sheridanstand78

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Cliffy was three plays ahead of most players. He had vision on the field that is rare and he played in an era where there were amazing 5/8s like Lewis and Kenny and he held his own against them.

The combination with Beaver was amazing and the fear those two put into opposition defences was always great to see.

We were blessed to have Cliffy!!
 

Brissie Kid

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I think Cliffy failed to progress to an established test player (he played two, both won, much because of his brilliance) was that he was much too clever for those who hadn't been trained to anticipate his likely moves. Lewis, who I also consider an outstanding talent was more direct, Foran like, and more predictable and I guess this suited players unfamiliar with the silky moves of The Napper. Always thought the selectors got it wrong, with a far more effective side being with Lewis at lock and Lyons at 5/8. That would have been a lethal combination, with Menzies also roving.

Australia only won the 1990 Ashes thanks to Cliffy. England won the first test and looked home in the second test. Cliffy set up & scored a super try. Stuart threw an intercept that should have ended the game. Then Meninga & Stuart get all the credit for last minute try, but it only came as a result of Cliffy danced around a defender and shrugged off a tackle to get to the ball to Stuart.

 

Brissie Kid

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Cliffy was down & out towards the end of the 1993 season. Manly played in Perth & he never got off the bench. Next week he was in reserve grade & I thought his career was over. How wrong. He blitzed I think vs Souths in reserves & got put back into first grade. He then set up tries that got Manly wins in the final 3 or 4 games & then into the finals.

Then you get the whole run from the 1994 to 1997 where he was unstoppable. Won Dally M in 1994 & runner up 1995. Should've been picked for 1994 Kangaroos on form.

The only real downer was one moment in the 1997 grand final. At 16-10 up Cliffy missed a field goal from in front of the posts about 15 meters out.

End of 1998 Manly's season suddenly ended in Canberra in a semi final loss (some ordinary referee calls from memory) & Cliffy was pretty much told by the club to retire.

But then after Manly lost all those games at the start of the 1999 season they sacked Bozo in the same week they finally called on Cliffy to come back. Manly won the next three games with Cliffy back, even though he started from the bench. He went on to pass 300 games which i think was the Brookie day all the fans got handed out cardboard mustaches & Cliffy smashed the Tigers by 30 or 40.

Cliffy played his part in Manly's comeback draw vs Broncos at Brookie after being down 26-4 or so at one stage. The Broncos had won the title in 1998 so that was some effort by Manly. It was his final game at Brookie.

His last game was in the final round in Manly's 20-18 loss at Woolongong in the club's first ever game against St George Illawarra (who went on play in 1999 grand final). It was also Manly's last game before the Northern Beagles.
 
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Ryan

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One word describes Cliff Lyons:

Generational.
 

SeaEagleRock8

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For those who expect instant champions ...

It's notable that Cliffy (my favourite Manly player) didn't make his first grade debut until age 23 (at Norths). He joined Manly a year later, and while his talent was obvious so were the errors (probably because he was always trying something). He didn't nail down the Manly 5/8 spot until 1987 - at age 25.

Of course it's history now that he went on to be picked for NSW that year, and ended the season as Clive Churchill Medal winner.

So ... don't write off a player just because they haven't 'made it' by age 20 or 21!!
 

Scorpio

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This thread needs more highlights!

Watch him fool the cameraman at 0:40. Incredible timing and sleight of hand.

 

Shoe1

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These extended highlights of the 87 grand final show cliffy at his best, heaps of line breaks and bamboozling dummies.

 

Go manly

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This thread needs more highlights!

Watch him fool the cameraman at 0:40. Incredible timing and sleight of hand.


Even knowing it was coming he still fools you

Bloody incredible and unmatched by anyone in history of the game at his best

And I mean that sincerely,he may not have always been at his best every game but when that man was on he would wreck any team of any era

Go cliffy
 

maxta

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I think at Manly where players trained and played with Cliffy, the players simply knew their roles and just hit those holes and 9/10 times the magician would take the best option.
At other rep levels some of the outside backs, backrowers on the edges and fullbacks are just used to a standard half playing at the line, or getting early ball from their respective halves and making the breaks themselves....if only there were more like Beaver who had anticipation and timing he could have gone down as 1 of the best ever - imo he was just that....and often you get a quality ball player and the commentators and fans are on about the passes being off, when in fact it is often the runner pulling up or not reading the play that creates the bad outcome.....just watch Foz rip into T Rex on that left edge when he wasn't there...
 

Brissie Kid

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Brissie Kid

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For those who expect instant champions ...

It's notable that Cliffy (my favourite Manly player) didn't make his first grade debut until age 23 (at Norths). He joined Manly a year later, and while his talent was obvious so were the errors (probably because he was always trying something). He didn't nail down the Manly 5/8 spot until 1987 - at age 25.
Of course it's history now that he went on to be picked for NSW that year, and ended the season as Clive Churchill Medal winner.

So ... don't write off a player just because they haven't 'made it' by age 20 or 21!!

There's video of a tv game of Eels vs Sharks first grade from around Easter 1981 at Shark Park. Sterling is in the Eels team. With a few minutes left in the game Lyons is standing with the touchie and about to go on for Cronulla. The fulltime siren went off and he never got on the field. He never played first grade for the Sharks. Not sure how old he was in 1981.Bottom row, third from left.
.
lyons1981.jpg
 

SeaEagleRock8

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He would have been 19 at the time.
From the players project site:

"Born in Narrandera, teenager Cliff Lyons came to the Cronulla district as a boarder from the Mount Druitt area (Tregear) and was graded as a second rower with the Sharks in 1981. He then played with the Gundagai Tigers for three seasons where he represented Riverina against NZ in 1982 and Great Britain in 1984. Lyons signed with Norths midway through that year, following his Riverina coach Greg Hawick to the Bears in 1985, before signing with Manly."

https://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/players/cliff-lyons/summary.html
 

Shoe1

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I think at Manly where players trained and played with Cliffy, the players simply knew their roles and just hit those holes and 9/10 times the magician would take the best option.
At other rep levels some of the outside backs, backrowers on the edges and fullbacks are just used to a standard half playing at the line, or getting early ball from their respective halves and making the breaks themselves....if only there were more like Beaver who had anticipation and timing he could have gone down as 1 of the best ever - imo he was just that....and often you get a quality ball player and the commentators and fans are on about the passes being off, when in fact it is often the runner pulling up or not reading the play that creates the bad outcome.....just watch Foz rip into T Rex on that left edge when he wasn't there...
Yeah you’re right. Manly played differently to other teams, and quite different to the rep teams, which had a traditional structure. Manly was all bodies in motion attack, with cliffy and tooves orchestrating.

I played a game of touch vs cliffy and he stayed deep, and was very strict with his runners, he always wanted about 3 options to pass to.
 

globaleagle

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This thread needs more highlights!

Watch him fool the cameraman at 0:40. Incredible timing and sleight of hand.


lol, lucky I wasn't the cameraman...I'd still have the camera on him thinking wtf...where'd it go??
 

Bearfax

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lol, lucky I wasn't the cameraman...I'd still have the camera on him thinking wtf...where'd it go??


Truly amazing skill. I hope we see something of this in a year or two from Schuster, who seems to have some of those silky skills.
 

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