I want my Test jersey

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Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

By Paul Kent in St Helens

August 12, 2006 12:00
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

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JAMIE Lyon starts his three-year contract with Manly in October - and the former Test centre has already declared his determination to regain his Australian jersey.

Lyon is rated only an outside chance to play in this year's Tri-Nations tournament but he realises he has overcome one of the bigger obstacles by leaving behind his English contract – and is not out of consideration for a Kangaroos call-up.

Lyon has played the past two seasons with Super League leaders St Helens, but says it took losing his Test career to make him realise what he turned his back on.

"At the time I didn't realise how much I was throwing away," Lyon said, a fortnight before he leads St Helens' tilt at the Challenge Cup.

Lyon knows he is no walk-up start to be recalled to the Test arena but is bent on putting himself back in the running.

"It would be good to get back in there, if possible," he said.

"If there is a chance.

"I was always going to be hard with me over here and there are a lot of good players over in Australia but I would definitely love to play again."

Lyon, 24, was Super League's Man of Steel last season – the English league's version of the Dally M Player of the Year – and declares he is a far more mature leader since his days at Parramatta.

And his hunger will be music to the ears of Manly fans.

Since Lyon turned his back on Parramatta two years ago the Kangaroos have fielded an impressive three-quarter line led by centres Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper.

Lyon is hoping his return to Australia will remove the glass barrier that has prevented Test selectors from choosing him while he was in England, even though the practice has been used occasionally at State of Origin level.

"It should be a lot easier because I'll be over there," he said. "I know the selectors have been looking at the NRL all year and they have probably got a lot of players picked out already, but who wouldn't want to play for Australia?"

Lyon has helped to lead St Helens into the Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield in a fortnight (August 27), while steering them to the top of the Super League competition.

He has played both centre and five-eighth and assumed the role of the Saints' first-choice goalkicker.

His proven ability and his emergence as a senior player already make Lyon the buy of next season for Manly.

Lyon has come to terms with the consequences of his decision to quit Parramatta, after a rumoured falling out with coach Brian Smith – a rumour he still declines to talk about.

"I look back at it now and realise I threw away a lot at the time," he said.

"I wasn't really thinking about those things and took it for granted a fair bit.

"Having time off now and watching the games on TV it does get the hunger back.

"In a way I'm glad that I had my time off because it makes you realise that."
You need to take some of the leadership responsibility from the departure of Kennedy and ensure this team moves to the next level before pronouncing ambitions about your own interests. This is a team sport.

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