Lyon on standby for Gasnier By Phil Rothfield and Rupert Guinness April 22, 2006 ST GEORGE Illawarra has a secret contingency plan to lure crack centre Jamie Lyon to the club next season if Mark Gasnier walks out to play rugby union. Lyon's manager George Mimis, who also acts as Gasnier's agent, last night confirmed the former Parramatta player would seriously consider joining the Dragons. "At this stage it's a bit too early because Gaz isn't ready to make a decision," Mimis said. "But we're expecting an offer to be tabled by the Australian Rugby Union next Wednesday. "If Mark decides to go to rugby and the Saints also lose Trent Barrett to England, I'm sure Jamie Lyon would look at Saints as a serious option. "They're the sort of club he'd like to play for. Nothing can happen at this stage because he is under contract to Parramatta. We'll wait to see what happens" Lyon, who is currently playing in England for St Helens, has also been linked to a return to his old club Parramatta. Manly and Souths have shown an interest, but none of them could match the money Saints will have available should Gasnier and Barrett leave. "We are always interested in quality players," Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said. "Of course we'd have a lot of money available if both Gaz and Trent weren't here." The Lyon development came on the day Doust and Dragons coach Nathan Brown met Channel 9 boss Eddie McGuire and head of sport Steve Crawley in a bid to explore ways to keep Gasnier from switching codes. But McGuire did not give any guarantees yesterday that the broadcaster would step in. McGuire was positive about the 45-minute meeting in his office but remained non-committal last night when he spoke to The Saturday Telegraph. "It was a good meeting," said McGuire. "It wasn't as if they came asking for Mark to be host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or anything like that. "Nor did they ask for a cheque, and nor will they be getting one. "We were able to talk about some other ideas, to help them with some of our expertise in marketing. "St George are one of the great clubs and we are the long-term rights holders of the game so we would like to see Mark stay as well. But we are not going to become a second account for footballers." Brown also confirmed that there was nothing concrete to come out of the talks in terms of financial support. "We didn't go there to look for a job or ask for cash. We understand how Channel Nine have got a big stake in the game of rugby league," Brown said. "We just wanted to talk on what opportunities there may be on keeping Gaz in the game." Gasnier is expected to receive a formal offer from the Australian Rugby Union next week, reportedly worth up to $700,000. The Dragons say they cannot compete with what rugby has to offer financially and have asked Nine and the NRL to step in. But all indications are Gasnier is on the verge of switching codes. It would be a blow to the Dragons as he has developed into one of the best centres in the world. They could also lose skipper Trent Barrett who is expected to take up an option and play in England next year.