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Lyon shuts critics up - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sun, 29 Jul 2007 23:07:00 GMT
Former Eels star Jamie Lyon was given a warm and fuzzy return to his former stomping ground, silencing his harshest critics while going on a two-try scoring spree at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Lyon – who walked out on the Eels in spectacular style in early 2004 – ignored vociferous chants such as ‘Lyon is a wanker’, instead delivering the best individual performance for Manly.

Asked after the match if Lyon’s return meant anything to the players, interim Skipper Nathan Hindmarsh stated the obvious to those in the post match media scrum hoping for something sensational.

‘That was years ago, I’ve forgotten about it,” Hindmarsh said.

Searching for their first win at Parramatta Stadium in 10 games, the Sea Eagles looked strong odds to break that unwanted record after scoring back to back tries inside the opening quarter.

Running the ball back from a scrum feed and then a bonus penalty, the presence of Matt Orford's right foot proved a useful asset in setting up a cross-field kick to Michael Robertson in the left corner.

Despite some excellent try-saving tackles from Parramatta, Manly were soon in again to lead 8-0 after fullback Brett Stewart ran in his 12th four-pointer of 2007.

A second missed conversion from Matt Orford would however prove to be a crucial difference between the two teams for the remainder of the first half.

Inspiring his teammates before their rivals could inflict any more damage, Eric Grothe cloned some of his father's 80's toughness, shoulder charging his way past Micheal Robertson to grab the Eel's first points of the afternoon.

The pin-point accuracy of chief goal kicker Krisnan Inu was then instrumental in cutting Manly's lead to 2-points. Two further tries in the space four minutes then put the Eels in cruise control with an 18-8 lead at half-time.

Manly to the disappointment of Eels coach Michael Hagan hit back early in the second half by scoring off the back of penalty to keep most spectators on their toes for the rest of the game.

The same formula returned to haunt the Eels soon thereafter when video referee Bill Harrigan awarded a try to Brent Kite off the back of a penalty given away by Nathan Hindmarsh for a high-tackle on hooker Michael Monaghan.

A simple conversion from in front by Matt Orford handed Manly the lead for the second time in unarguably the most important 30 minutes of football to be played in round 20 of the NRL.

Stepping up the pressure, a magical try to winger Krisnan Inu from a Manly drop-out turned out to be extremely crucial, putting the homeside back in front 24-20 with 23 remaining.

That lead however was short-lived and very vulnerable.

Ending a quiet day the office, Jamie Lyon then silenced his former fans with the mother of all tries in the 57th minute to level the scores.

Orford's second successful conversion of the afternoon unlocked the deadlock to give the visiting arch rivals a 2-point lead.

Somebody had to lose but with 19 minutes remaining, one question still remained. Who?

In the end the answer appeared to be mighty Parramatta who despite fighting valiantly could not last the distance.

The match sealing try coming from Lyon, adding insult to injury to the thousands who showed up hoping to see the former Eels centre get taught a footballing lesson.

Orford's 4th conversion of the afternoon was the final nail in Parramatta's coffin, ensuring that the Eels needed to score 2 tries in the final 7 minutes to win a game that seemed to be theirs for the taking.

Despite losing a psychologically crucial game at the back end of the season, Eels coach Michael Hagan wasn’t ready to start panicking, instead opting to keep things in perspective.

“The start of our second halves in the last three week’s hasn’t been ideal,” Hagan said.

“You know we conceded two quick tries in the first 10 minutes which got them well and truly back in it if not in front.

“We just need to get that attitude to the start of the second halves sorted out, which I’m sure we can do.”
MANLY 32 (J Lyon 2 B Kite S Menzies M Robertson B Stewart tries M Orford 4 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 24 (E Grothe J Hayne K Inu B Smith tries K Inu 4 goals) at Parramatta Stadium. Referee: Tony Archer Crowd: 20,113 Penalties: Eels 6-4 - Read More, Here