Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan
June 10, 2006
FORMER Test centre Jamie Lyon is set to become the hottest off-contract player by delaying a decision on his future until after the June 30 anti-tampering deadline.
Lyon, now playing with English club St Helens, was expected to confirm his return to Parramatta next season.
But it emerged last night he has told his manager that he will choose an NRL club after hearing offers from all interested parties.
The latest development ensures Lyon will become the game's most-coveted commodity, with a host of clubs expected to vie for his services.
A number have already expressed an interest in the former Eels centre, including Canberra, Manly and St George Illawarra.
"If he did come on the market he would be someone we would look at for sure," Raiders' chief executive Simon Hawkins said last night.
"He's a talented player. He's from the country as well which always seems to help us."
Penrith is also expected to bid for the classy centre/five-eighth as a replacement for Gold Coast-bound Preston Campbell.
As Lyon pledged to go on the open market, Souths continued its build-up for next year by meeting Melbourne and New Zealand forward David Kidwell and arranging talks with Bulldogs' prop Roy Asotasi.
Kidwell was offered a three- year deal by the Rabbitohs and chief executive Shane Richardson described the talks as "fruitful".
Souths wasted no time making a play for Asotasi, who was granted permission by the Dogs on Thursday to hold talks with rival clubs.
The Sydney Roosters have also made contact with Asotasi, with the Kiwi prop viewed as a possible replacement for Adrian Morley, who is expected to return to England next season.
Souths' players and officials last night insisted they held no lingering ill-will towards Adam MacDougall, as the former Test winger prepared to make his return tonight against Brisbane.
MacDougall, fined and dropped after criticising his team-mates two weeks ago, has been named in the centres against Brisbane at Telstra Stadium.
It's understood MacDougall apologised to his team-mates this week for his errant comments.
"He's been terrific all week and is looking forward to playing," Souths coach Shaun McRae said.
"He's a vital part of the team, an integral part of the team. It's been a normal week as far as everybody is concerned. There's no problem as far as that goes."
Meanwhile, Gold Coast has bolstered its pack for its debut season next year with the signing of Panthers' second-rower Frank Puletua.