When Kemblawarra’s Shane Lyons was sidelined by a medial ligament tear on the run into the Illawarra Premier League finals, it got him thinking about the future.
With a new career path on the table and a young family at home, the veteran defender began to consider life away from football.
“A few things have changed in my life,” Lyons explained ahead of Sunday’s IPL grand final.
“Career wise I have had a few opportunities have come which could involve shift work. Having these few weeks that I have had has made me think maybe it’s time to get into coaching rather than pushing what I have left and really finishing myself off.
“I have a two year old daughter, Isabel, as well who I want to give everything to and maybe my commitments are changing from soccer.
“She is recognizing when I am home and when I am not. I think my wife Hannah would enjoy having me there a bit more.”
While he admitted retirement at the end of the campaign was ‘a possibility’, Lyons wasn’t willing to officially call time on his career just yet.
Football has been a massive part of the 37-year-old’s life since he started out at the Australian Institute of Sport as a promising teenager during the late 90’s.
He went on to trial at Portuguese giants Benfica and played in the English conference league for a season before returning to play more than 100 games in the National Soccer League (NSL) for the Northern Spirit, Canberra Cosmos and Wollongong Wolves.
When the national competition collapsed in 2004, Lyons – like countless other players at the time – had to reevaluate things.
“It was a crossroads,” he said.
“They took a whole year off having NSL or A-League so it was just Premier League.
“I decided to use that to start a career in a career in the years past soccer.
“That’s where I am now working as an electrician and playing part time with the Fury.”
Lyons, who is the son of rugby league legend Cliff Lyons, had several stints around the Illawarra Premier League, NSW Premier League and an ill-fated month training with the Newcastle Jets in 2006. He returned full time to the IPL in 2012 and has been an integral of the Fury squad ever since.
Known as Dapto-Dandaloo until this season, the Fury have won two grand finals and three League Championships over that period.
On Sunday, they’ll look to add another grand final crown when they take on Albion Park White Eagles at WIN Stadium.
After more than six weeks out, Lyons is in a race against time to be fit for the clash.
He rated himself a 70% chance on Tuesday of being ready, but was adamant he would play a role on the day regardless.
“A medial tear is always a slow process when healing but I have been training the past couple of weeks so there is a good possibility that I’ll have something to do with the game,” Lyons said.
“Even if I don’t, I will bring all my experience and feed it to the lads.
“They seem to have the edge on us a little bit.
“We have lost the last two times to them so hopefully being a big game situation, we will have that experience over them.”
The grand final will kick-off at 2.30pm.