The first half of Chris Lawrence’s NRL career hasn’t lived up to its potential but that’s only heightened the hunger in the Wests Tigers star.
When Lawrence became the Tigers’ youngest debutant as a 17-year-old back in 2006, he had the league world at his feet and all the time in the world.
The exciting Tigers were fresh from their maiden premiership and State of Origin football beckoned for the skillful centre.
But entering his ninth season of NRL, Lawrence is yet to make a grand final and is still without a Blue jumper.
Injury has restricted him to an average of just 17 games a year and the Tigers’ consistently low finishes on the ladder have hardly helped his representative cause.
However, here’s the good news - Lawrence is only 25.
Time is still on his side, and he’s in full training for the new season after recovering from shoulder surgery.
Lawrence wants to step up as a leader in 2014 in the post-Benji Marshall era, and is coveting a return to the representative frame, having last played for Australia in 2011.
“I suppose (injury setbacks) do make you more grateful - when you are injury free - and hungry,” he said.
"It’s about getting your body right. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and you just have to accept that they come at times. It’s frustrating but once you get games under your belt you play yourself back into fitness and form.
"I’d love to play rep footy… but I haven’t had many consecutive games in the past two years so for me that’s my goal.
“If I do that and the Tigers are playing well and rep footy comes, then so be it.”
Former Tigers coach Tim Sheens dabbled a couple of years ago with Lawrence at five-eighth, but there’s no chance of the Campbelltown junior filling Marshall’s boots in the No.6.
However, Lawrence does want to fill a leadership void and revealed he dreams of one day captaining the club.
“For me it’s about leading by example and that’s what I’ve liked to do and the way I’ve liked to teach the younger guys,” he said.
“It’s obviously a goal for the senior players to try and improve on the last few years which have obviously been disappointing.”
On the injury front, the Tigers are confident Tim Simona (shoulder), Aaron Woods (knee) and Keith Galloway (toe) will be on deck for the start of the season or shortly after.
Tim Moltzen is also ahead of schedule despite fracturing his kneecap before Christmas
thanks very much for posting tfl
personally, lawrence is my favourite player and i hope he gets a full (big) injury free season. i would love to see him get back to his halcyon days and blitz like he once did. i am hopeful that the new halves pairing(s) will see him get good ball to get him through the gaps. i think he will benefit by having a different game plan from the halves this season if he can stay fit.
also think that if he were to have a good injury free year or two then he is the perfect future captain. he has always been role model material and has the heart of a lion - particularly battling through the hip and jaw break he had.
Just hope Rowdy has an injury free season, I’m sure many a fan will be happy if this occurs, plus I’m confident he can regain the form we know he is capable of if he does string together a solid injury free run.
Wow, sad state of affairs when we are using old Marshall posts for Chris Lawrence!
Like most of us I hope he plays great and stays injury free. If he wants to lead by example no better place to start than with his defense. If our senior players like Chris and Blair do not aim up we are in for a long tough season based on the fact Potter will not make too many changes unless injury forces them. I just hope Anasta is not in the 17 and more a backup utility.
You would think this year is the last roll of the dice for Rowdy. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy and we all know he can play, but his injuries have severely hampered his ability in the past couple of years.
If he can get back some lateral movement it may improve his defence. Hopefully he loses a few kg’s as well and improves his speed a little.
We all love Lawrence and hope he does recapture his form and speed.
His defence last year was poor.
I beleive it will be a make or break year for Lawrence or he will be off to the Tiger Sharks in 2015.
All the best Chris as we need you to step up this year.
At least we have depth in the centre position this year.