Man of Steel Lyon leaving St Helens to return home

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The Independent Online

"We're delighted that Jamie will be in the maroon and white for the next four years," said the Manly chief executive, Paul Cummings. "He's only 24 and is considered one of the finest players in the game." Lyon has thrived in Britain since leaving Parramatta two years ago because of his disillusionment with city life.

"St Helens struck gold with Jamie," said the club's coach, Daniel Anderson, of the game's reigning Man of Steel. "I think he'll go back as a better player. He's much more robust and he's enhanced his team play.

"I'd a fair idea he wasn't going to be in Super League next season. It's a disappointment but it's entirely understandable and St Helens will come up with a quality replacement." That new man is likely to be the Newcastle and Australia centre Matthew Gidley, who shares much of Lyon's sleight of hand and ability to break a tackle.

In the shorter term, the 17-year-old St Helens academy centre, Steve Tyrer, could be in line to make his first-team debut against the Catalan Dragons tomorrow if a number of injury doubts are ruled out of the game.

Lyon's compatriots from New South Wales lost their first State of Origin series since 2002, going down 16-14 to Queensland in the last few minutes of the final game of the three-match series in front of 54,000 in Melbourne. NSW were leading 14-4 inside the last 10 minutes, but two converted tries -from Brent Tate and Darren Lockyer - saw Queensland home.

"It was a great comeback from our guys. It's the sort of spirit we showed all series," said Lockyer. "We knew we had plenty of time. We didn't panic and kept working away, and it was a great win."

Leeds are to host a fact-finding visit from representatives of the West Indies Rugby League, who are looking for advice on developing the game in one of its newest areas.