By Dan Koch townsvillebulletin 26feb07 FORMER Australia five-eighth Brett Kenny believes Manly recruit Jamie Lyon is the frontrunner for the New South Wales No.6 jumper this season, citing a lack of quality halves available to Blues selectors. Lyon drifted between five-eighth and centre In his first appearance since joining the Sea Eagles from St Helens. However, Lyon seems set to make a permanent move to pivot for his new club when rugged New Zealand three-quarter Steve Matai returns - a move that Kenny believes will be a huge relief to Blues coach Graham Murray. At this early stage, Lyons' only genuine rivals for the NSW five-eighth spot appear to be fellow makeshift pivots Mark Gasnier and Brett Finch. "Just looking around, I am thinking I might get my knee fixed up and throw the boots on because I could be a show for them," Kenny joked. "It's an interesting situation - a pretty worrying one if your are a New South Welshman. "You'd have to think Jamie is a huge chance to play there, if he can perform even solidly in early rounds. "He's played for Australia, he is obviously a very good player, and you know he can handle the pressure of rep football. "He played some five-eighth in England, but (he) is a bit of an unknown here. "But there just isn't anyone else who really jumps out at you as a great option." Lyon's superior passing and kicking skills have him above Gasnier in the pivot standings at present, with Gasnier still the Blues' first choice in the centres. The former Parramatta star's cause is boosted by the presence of gun halfback Matt Orford inside him at the Sea Eagles. With Andrew Johns unavailable and Brett Kimmorley on the outer, Orford appears to be in a race in three with Penrith co-captain Craig Gower, and St George Illawarra's Ben Hornby for the No.7 jumper. NSW's stocks are in stark contrast to those of Queensland, which looks to have an embarrassment of riches throughout the backline. Halves Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston are the incumbent Australia pairing. Beyond them, Tim Smith, Scott Prince and Cooper Cronk have proven themselves more than capable, while the game's best young player, Greg Inglis, is set to move to five-eighth this season. In their first hit-out against an under-strength Melbourne outfit, Lyon and Orford teamed well together. Playing in the second of three periods, Orford laid on two tries with trademark bursts through a retreating defence, with Lyon joining in, gifting second rower Anthony Watmough a try with a short ball close to the line. A bomb from Lyon in the final period led to another Manly try. "Matty is a great player with a lot of experience and it is always a pleasure to play outside someone like that because it makes life a lot easier for you," Lyon said. "It was only the first hit-out for the year and it wasn't like our game was worth writing home about. But there were a lot of good signs and I felt very comfortable." Orford said that Lyon had fitted well into the side, and he already commanded the squad's respect. Orford said his combination with Lyon could not only carry Manly to success this year but also help him fulfil his Origin dream. "Jamie is such a classy player ... he can slot in anywhere and every time he touches it, he just seems to have all day to do whatever he wants," Orford said.