Raiders centre attention on Lyon

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First Grader
THE Canberra Raiders are preparing to make a play for former Parramatta centre Jamie Lyon, claiming they have the resources to lure one of rugby league's brightest stars to the nation's capital in 2007.

Despite rumours that he is already set to join Manly next year, Lyon, who is contracted to the Eels until the end of this season after walking out two years ago, is expected to field up to half a dozen offers from NRL clubs when he becomes available after June 30.

But Raiders general manager Don Furner said the club could match any offer thrown at the current St Helens flyer.

"We're after a quality centre and we'll have the money to get one," Furner said.

"I'm not sure we'll be able to lure someone like Mark Gasnier or Matt Cooper here but Jamie Lyon is a different story.

"A lot of clubs will be interested in him and we will be, too.

"We'll be watching him closely over the next few months and will be making sure his manager (George Mimis) knows we're interested."

Canberra will release veteran Jason Smith at the end of the season and are awaiting a decision from Jason Croker, who has an option for another year in his contract. Hooker Simon Woolford is also off contract and will be offered a one-year deal at most.

Furner said the Raiders would be among the most aggressive clubs in the player market this season.

"We've got the money to spend and we'll target two high-profile players - a centre and a back rower," he said. "We're confident we'll be able to attract some players here.

"Some of it will depend on what happens with Croker, but either way I think we'll be very active in the market.

"At the moment we're focusing on re-signing some of our younger players, and once we've secured them we'll look at the top level."

Winger Phil Graham and highly rated youngster William Zillman are expected to re-sign by the end of the week, while the Raiders are also in talks with Michael Weyman, Jermaine Ale and David Howell.
I can't see that Lyons would be overwhelmed by the Raiders suggesting he's behind Cooper and Gasnier.
It certainly reads that way doesnt it.

Furner could mean that both Gasnier and Cooper would be unlikely prospects considering the English clubs looking at them both, whilst Lyon is an easier target to return to the NRL & up for offers from any NRL club.

Considering my bias i will go ahead & believe that Furners comments were foolish & that Lyon should read them and cement his thoughts on returning to Australia & Manly in 2007
Apparently we let Hecks go to snare Lyon....It would be very dissapointing to miss out on him. But we have to look at positives here...
We have positioned ourselves to buy a top line player. Both Cooper and Gasnier are both off contract....make a play for either of them if Lyon fails to sign.
Additionally, Canberra are second guessing themselves. Elliott said on NRL on Fox this year, Stuart Fielden will be their priority, with some small name players to follow..
So that would be Fielden, Lyon, Frawley, Schifcoske, Croker etc etc....they must use the same accountant as The Roosters.
If the scuttlebutt is anything to go by Gasnier or Cooper will be closely looked at by English clubs.

But IF all 3 were to be on the market my pick of the bunch would be 1) Lyon 2) Cooper 3) Gasnier. Reason being Lyon has a natural fit with Manly whilst Gasnier is the type of personality that might not fit in well with some of our other team members & of course he would be damned expensive. I cant see any problems with Cooper and the money factor then comes into the equation & I think Cooper would be cheaper than Gasnier and better value.
Team P W L PD Pts
9 8 1 116 18
9 7 2 72 16
9 7 2 49 16
11 7 4 59 14
9 6 3 57 14
10 6 4 -10 14
10 6 4 115 12
10 5 5 -56 12
11 5 5 30 11
10 4 6 15 10
10 5 5 -13 10
10 4 6 -18 8
9 3 6 -71 8
10 3 6 -9 7
9 2 7 -69 6
9 2 7 -87 6
9 1 8 -180 4
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