ACE centre Jamie Lyon did not get the chance for a swansong appearance, with a hamstring injury ruling him out of Manly’s last game of the campaign at the weekend.

But the classy former Saint, who spent two years wowing the crowds at Knowsley Road in 2005-6, has plenty of other red-letter days to look back on.

Current Saints coach and former teammate Keiron Cunningham, who admitted to trying and failing to persuade Lyon to return to England, paid tribute to a special talent.

Cunningham said: “I knew of Killer before he arrived in 2005.

“The biggest thing that drew me to him then was that he just walked away from the NRL because he didn’t like the way he was being treated went to work in a bar on a bowling green.

“I admired that because it is something I could never do.

“When he first arrived, he turned up at my testimonial do at Haydock Park and someone had lent him a suit and he looked like an extra from Home and Away, with his big collars and spiky hair and he had not trained for 10 months.

“I thought what the hell have we signed, because there were reports saying was not a good trainer, but it was the opposite. He competed hard with everything he did.

“We knew how talented he was and it was only when we started running round with him and he began getting fit we saw that.”

Lyon won the Man of Steel in his first season at Saints in 2005, a year in which the team finished top before having the play-offs derailed by injury.

There were no such slip-ups in 2006 when Lyon was part of Daniel Anderson’s grand slam winning team.

“I have never played with a player who has had that much influence on a club or a season as Jamie did.

“I have been fortunate enough to play with some really good players in my time, but Jamie is up there with the best I have ever played with.

“We had a really good group of players here at the time and Jamie was the icing on top.

“I have never seen people change a game like Jamie – if it was in deadlock or tight and he would win it on his own,” Cunningham said.

Lyon, who turns 35 in January, called time despite offers to continue at Manly.

“I tried to get him back here – he could have played on, but I think his body is telling him enough is enough.

“He is a huge talent that will be a loss to to game,” Cunningham said.