No grand exit for Lyon at Brookvale Oval
THE fact that Jamie Lyon is unable to play his last game in front of the Brookvale faithful today could provide Manly with even more emotion to provide its long-serving captain with a special win over a Canberra side heading to the finals.
Sport doesn't always allow players to end their careers the way they would like and Lyon (hamstring) will miss Manly's last game of the season at home and is unlikely to make it back for the round 26 away clash with Penrith.
It's been that kind of season for Manly after a busy recruiting drive in the off-season and a new rookie coach Trent Barrett.
It's been major injury after major injury for the Sea Eagles who launched a late but unsuccessful bid to make the finals, only to run out of troops and time.
Lyon's teammates will want to put in huge effort in their last two games of the season for their inspirational leader who has twice been Dally M Captain of the Year, most recently in 2014.
He will not go around again in 2017 and the man most likely to replace him, halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, believes he will be missed more than anyone can imagine.
As Wayne Bennett once said, "You only ever truly appreciate how good a player is and what he gives to the team until he is gone”
No doubt that will be the case with Lyon.
Meanwhile, Canberra, which lost five-eighth Blake Austin (broken knuckle), will have to absorb the emotion and Brookvale Oval crowd to post a win that could move the Raiders into second place if the Sharks lose to the Roosters.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart remains hopeful Austin will get back for the finals but has full confidence in his replacement Sam Williams to partner Aidan Sezer in the halves.