Lyon earns surprise call as Australia break with tradition

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The Independent Online

The Super League's Man of Steel, Jamie Lyon, said he was surprised to receive a call-up into Australia's Tri-Nations squad yesterday.

The Australian selectors broke with tradition by naming the 24-year-old St Helens favourite in a 23-strong squad, along with eight uncapped players. Lyon is only the second Australian player since 1988 to be selected from outside the NRL, the other being another St Helens man, the former Canterbury player Darren Smith, who was an emergency call-up by Chris Anderson in 2003.

"It was a bit of a shock but I'm excited," Lyon said.

Lyon, who toured with the Kangaroos as a teenager in 2001, has been in outstanding form for St Helens but was not expected to earn a recall to the Test scene until he returned to Australia with Manly Sea Eagles in 2007. However, the St Helens coach, Daniel Anderson persuaded the new Australia coach, Ricky Stuart, to pick Lyon when they spoke last week.

Lyon will not be available for the opening match against New Zealand in Auckland on 14 October because it clashes with the Super League Grand Final, but is expected to be available for the return game in Melbourne a week later.