SEAGULLS LEADER: Ballina five-eighth Jamie Lyon hits the Mullumbimby defensive line in NRRRL.
SEAGULLS LEADER: Ballina five-eighth Jamie Lyon hits the Mullumbimby defensive line in NRRRL. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

Big guns battle with Carney and Lyon

FORMER NRL stars Todd Carney and Jamie Lyon will lock horns for the first time since 2014 when Ballina hosts Byron Bay in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League this weekend.

They last met in the NRL when Carney was at Cronulla and Lyon at Manly. Now they play in NRRRL, with Carney captain-coach at Byron Bay and Lyon in the same role at Ballina.

Both have played for Australia and NSW in State of Origin, but never at the same time.

Carney has already led his side to a win over defending premiers Tweed Coast in NRRRL while Ballina got the better of the Raiders in the grand final rematch on Sunday.

Lyon is starting to hit his straps with some dominant performances in recent weeks while Carney has overcome a rib injury.

He said he hoped his and Carney's involvement in the game would get more people through the gates.

"It's a new role for both of us, being captain-coach, and we want to get the teams playing the best they can,” Lyon said.

"I've had a few niggling injuries with my foot and hamstring but I've got some match fitness under by my belt now.”

There is no particular rivalry between Lyon and Carney.

Lyon couldn't remember any games where Carney had one up on him, or the other way around.

However, there is plenty of rivalry between the two clubs.

Centre Dan Gibson, hooker Andrew Battese and front-rower Dylan Montgomery left for Byron Bay this season after several years at Ballina.

Lock Kane Montgomery will also play against his former club for the first time while the Red Devils have Mick Foster on their coaching staff.

Foster coached Ballina to a premiership in 2017 and was at the helm again last season.

Ballina is currently on top of the ladder while Byron Bay is desperate for a win, having lost three straight games.

The win over Tweed Coast also doubled as Lyon's first over former Manly teammate and Clive Churchill medallist Brent Kite, who is in his second year coaching the Raiders.

"We actually played a round of golf at Ocean Shores during the week,” Lyon said.

"He's still a big unit and I'm glad he's retired - coaching and not playing.”

Kick-off is 2.45pm at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, on Sunday.