Lyon's last roar in rugby league
FORMER NRL star Jamie Lyon has retired after a premiership-winning season as captain-coach at Ballina in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.
Lyon, 37, was back playing rugby league this year for the first time since he retired from Manly at the end of 2016.
All signs pointed to another season with the Seagulls in 2020 before he decided to walk away.
"I was aiming to go around again and it was only really in the last month that I changed my mind,” Lyon said.
"I'd say this is probably it for me and I'm happy to finish now.
"I'm not getting any younger and I'll have my boys in under-13s and under-15s next season, while my daughter plays under-9s soccer with Lennox Head.
"Work is always busy and I've enjoyed spending more time at home lately.”
Under Lyon, the Seagulls lost only two games before a 38-18 grand final win over Murwillumbah in front of a bumper home crowd in September.
It could not have been scripted better for Lyon when he scored his third try of the game after the full-time siren.
He retires from the sport after making his debut at the Parramatta Eels in 2000 and going on to play 359 NRL games.
He won a Group 4 premiership with Wee Waa after leaving the Eels in 2004 and won an English Super League title at St Helens and two grand finals at Manly in 2008 and 2011.
Twelve months ago he decided to play again after meeting club president Al Perry and other Ballina players when he moved to the region.
"It was a great year, I couldn't have asked for a better group and we played some of our best footy in that grand final,” Lyon said.
"Most of those boys are still young and it's a credit to the club with how tight the playing group is.”
He said the Seagulls would stay strong without him and he would still have a presence at the club next season.
"I'll definitely be popping my head in at games and training,” Lyon said.
"I get on great with Al Perry and all the guys there.
"I have to thank all of them for a great year and I've made a lot of great friends who I will keep in contact with.
"I'm not sure what the plan is but it's a great club and I'm sure they'll have a lot of strong applicants (to coach).”
Meanwhile, Byron Bay captain-coach Todd Carney is set for his second year at the Red Devils in 2020 after committing to the club for three years.