Lyon would like to be an Eel... again

Jamie Lyon has expressed his desire to return to Parramatta. Lyon caused a sensation by walking out on the Eels after the first match of the 2004 season, citing a dislike for city life amid rumours he had fallen out with coach Brian Smith.

The 23-year-old's shock departure rocked the club and the Eels struggled without him, finishing the year in 12th place.

However Lyon, who was named English Super League's best player after guiding English club St Helens to the minor premiership, has expressed a desire to return to the Eels and make amends.

"If Parramatta will have me back, I'd love to play with them again," a homesick Lyon told The League Correspondent.

"I must admit I miss playing with blokes like Nathan Hindmarsh and Nathan Cayless."

But Cayless said there was little chance of the former Kangaroo again playing in the blue and gold following the acrimony over his departure.

"I think it's all just talk and I don't believe it really will happen," Cayless said on Monday.

"He made a decision and a lot of people were pretty upset with the way he did it.

"It was tough when Jamie left, he left us in the lurch and we struggled that season.

"That was the worst thing about it, he left at a time when we really needed him, we needed senior players.

"He never really said exactly why he did leave, I don't know what happened there.

"Obviously it was very disappointing but that's all in the past and there's no use holding any grudges.

"Whether he actually believes he'll come back to Parramatta, I'll believe it when it happens.

"If it happens, it happens, but if it doesn't I don't think we will be any worse off."

Despite the bitter split, Lyon, who scored 24 tries for the Saints last season, still holds a contract with Parramatta which expires at the end of next season.

The Eels, who offloaded exciting outside back Willie Tonga to the Bulldogs just prior to Lyon's departure, now have the centre position well covered following the addition of Australian three-quarter Timana Tahu to the squad last year, as well as the emergence of exciting rookie Ben Smith.

Asked today if there was any chance of Lyon rejoining the side, Parramatta chief executive Denis Fitzgerald said: "I have no comment to make except to say I was pleased to hear Jamie's comments in regard to him not having any problems with Brian Smith."

Cayless, who hasn't spoken to Lyon since he left, said his exit wasn't the only reason the Eels performed badly in 2004.

"You can't just blame Jamie, it's not one player," he said.

"We had a lot of injuries and we didn't have the depth to cover the injuries we had.

"We don't really talk about it too much, it was very tough. We were copping it from everywhere in the media, our fans really gave it to us.

"It just made the players stronger.

"The thing is, we have a couple of good centres at the moment.

"What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. That's what happened and we really found out what everyone was about."