Lyon takes time out to enjoy a fine swine
Andrew Stevenson | August 3, 2009
IF WESTS TIGERS five-eighth Benji Marshall finds himself being pursued with a little extra vim and vigour tonight, blame it on the pigs rather than the Sea Eagles.
Manly have worked their way back to prominence this year after their spectacular on- and off-field early season disasters and now have a top four spot in their sights with six matches to play.
But their star five-eighth Jamie Lyon had other things in his sights last week, running down a bit of bacon out the back of Collarenebri in western NSW.
Some players mix up their training by heading to the dunes or throwing a punch for lunch; Lyon chases wild boar and, according to an eyewitness, does so with some success.
Former St George captain and coach Ian Walsh joined Lyon, and the Cleal brothers, Noel and Les – surely enough to scare any self-respecting wild pig into going straight – on the hunt.
‘‘Jamie will come back well conditioned, I’ll tell you that,’’ Walsh said. ‘‘He might have been on holidays for a few days up there but, by gosh, he got a workout chasing a few pigs and goats. And they caught a couple too. I think they caught 30 pigs.’’
The group stayed in shearers quarters and also paced themselves against wild goats, on a property visit organised by another former Manly wild man, Les Boyd.
Confidence was high. Walsh is convinced this year’s Dragons outfit can go all the way; Manly, who play a Tigers team walking the tightrope tonight at the Sydney Football Stadium, are flying too.
‘‘Manly are so confident, and I said, ‘But they flogged you in Wollongong a couple of weeks ago,’’’ Walsh said.
‘‘They said, ‘No, we’ll come back. We weren’t at our top and, once we do we’ll be as good as last year.’ That’s the confidence Jamie Lyon has.
‘‘They won’t hear of St George [being favourites]. I couldn’t imagine them not being concerned about St George but they’re not.’’
Manly coach Des Hasler’s focus is much shorter. If his side keeps winning, a top four spot, and a home semi-final, becomes a distinct possibility.
‘‘A win will put us one point out of it; a win for Wests Tigers keeps their hopes alive,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘It will be an intense game of footy – there’s a lot to play for, and both sides are aware of that.’’
Hasler was happy to see Lyon heading bush after the disposal of the Newcastle Knights last round, 44-20.
‘‘If you’re a country boy at heart, it’s always good to get back there,’’ he said.