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Lyon is the key to Manly, says Taufua
Joe Barton
13:58 AEST Sat Jan 19 2013

If Manly need any further coaxing to extend the contract of captain Jamie Lyon, and prevent the star centre from following the money trail to an NRL rival, they need only consult the club's young stars.

Lyon on Friday erased speculation that he wanted an early release from the final year of his contract with the Sea Eagles to pursue a four-year deal with the Gold Coast Titans, reportedly worth close to $3 million.

But the 30-year-old remains off contract at the end of the year and following another outstanding season in 2012 is sure to be in hot demand, despite a desire to stay at the Sea Eagles.

One player desperately hoping Lyon and Manly can come to an agreement to extend his time on Sydney's northern beaches is young winger Jorge Taufua, who enjoyed a remarkable debut season in 2012.

"It would be great to have him (stay) and I reckon he offers the club a lot," Taufua said.

"Obviously he's our captain. He leads us around well, everyone respects him at the club.

"He's a key for us. It would be good to see him stay with us."

After losing a wealth of experience in recent seasons, with the likes of Tony Williams, Josh Perry, Michael Robertson and Matt Orford as well as coach Des Hasler all leaving the club in the past three years, Taufua said Lyon's experience was invaluable to a young squad.

The Sea Eagles approach can be seen in their recruitment strategy for the 2013 season - choosing to invest in highly-rated youngsters Ligi Sao, Michael Chee Kam and local junior Clinton Gutherson instead of big names.

The value of a two-time premiership winner like Lyon only increases when he is able to pass on his wisdom to the club's next generation, like Taufua who this time last year was aiming to play just one game - but finished as a key member of Manly's backline with 12 tries.

That led to the 21-year-old being named in Laurie Daley's Emerging Blues squad, an achievement he admits he owes in part to the likes of Lyon and fellow centre Steve Matai.

"Our club is full of a lot of great players and experienced players, and Killer is one of them," he said.

"I learn a lot off him every day at training ... He's been around a long time, and with me coming up he just pulls me aside and gives me little tips. Him and Stevie Matai.

"I'm just grateful to learn off him every day."


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