NRL 2018: Chris Lawrence puts hand up for captaincy at new-look Wests Tigers

NRL 2018: Chris Lawrence puts hand up for captaincy at new-look Wests Tigers
Adam Pengilly - SMH

Chris Lawrence isn’t hiding his desire to take over the Wests Tigers captaincy but is first to acknowledge Ivan Cleary’s vast recruitment drive will spread the leadership load across the joint venture’s cavalcade of recruits.

One of Cleary’s final points of pre-season business will be to settle on a captain for the Tigers, who are in search of a successor for Bulldogs recruit Aaron Woods.

Lawrence and Elijah Taylor filled in for Woods while he was on representative duty last year, but big-name signings Josh Reynolds and Benji Marshall could also enter Cleary’s thinking before round one.

One-club veteran Lawrence, 29, would provide stability for Cleary amid a roster rejuvenation and the former Australian representative said he would jump at the chance to lead the Tigers in 2018, who will feature a sprinkling of old and new faces with Reynolds, Marshall, Chris McQueen, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact I’d love to be captain,” Lawrence said. "I’d put my hand up and it would be a great honour if I got the chance.

"I think for this group – being such a new group with so many senior guys – it’s not going to be down to be one person leading the group. There’s going to be a bunch of senior guys throughout the squad that are going to drive what we’re going to do.

"What we achieve will be down to those guys rather than one captain barking the orders.

“I think we were definitely too young in the last couple of years. It’s great to have young kids and some outstanding talent, but you need the balance. The NRL is such a tough competition and to be consistent for 24 rounds week in, week out you need a balance of experienced players.”

While much of the focus has been on the arrival of Reynolds and his combination with halfback Luke Brooks, Lawrence has felt a seismic shift from the group which gradually built momentum under Cleary last season.

And their ambition won’t be anything less than a first finals appearance since 2011.

“Realistically every side’s goal … if it’s not to make the finals they shouldn’t be playing footy,” Lawrence said.

"It’s definitely the biggest change since I’ve been here, although we’ve had a couple of different coaches. I haven’t been here where we’ve had such a change of personnel and players coming and going.

“It was always going to be different. Everyone has just seemed to have fitted in really well. A lot of senior players have come in with great input from other clubs and trying to drive the stuff we’re trying to achieve.”

Chris would be absolutely the best choice for club captain. Not so sure about the team captain, however, as I don’t know at this point whether he will feature in the top 17 throughout the majority of the season. I hope he does because it will mean that the (hopefully) better go forward from the big boppers will allow him to run his angles and make his presence felt in attack as well as with his strong defence.
It’s a tough choice for Ivan. There are plenty of worthwhile candidates for the role as team captain.
Whomever he chooses, it will be a better option than the last couple of years, I suspect.

Lawrence totally deserves to be club captain, but…… I wonder if he might already be getting the vibe that he won’t be in the starting side for next year.

He’d be a great choice. Great role model, club legend. But, as already stated, he’s no certainty to be in the run on side. I think it will come down to ET and Reynolds. I’m not fussed who gets it, as long as there aren’t co-captains like Cleary was hinting at before Christmas. It’s dumb imo and indecisive. Just go with one guy, and put another 4 or 5 into a leadership group.

I think the best candidate atm is Reynolds, purely because he’s probably the only candidate guaranteed a starting spot. ET will most likely be a starter, but there is probably a small chance that he doesn’t start I suppose.

Knows how to fight adversity…very good talker with the Media…respected by team mates…One Club man…great Leadership qualities has Rowdy…

Can see a lot of people upset if Ivan gives him the role…

If he earns a starting spot then he’s my captain.


If he earns a starting spot then he’s my captain.

The problem is will he keep his spot all season. He is a great choice though.

I do not think that Reynolds is the man for the job. He should be a leader on the field, but is too emotional to be trying to have conversations with the referees (ala C Smith).

I think Lawrence fits this perfectly, and aside from him would then look to Taylor or Packer.

Long term (assuming his body and form holds up and he estab lishes himself in the side) I think Liddle could be the man for the job.

No for me as popular and respected as he is.

Can not have a captain that is not in your best starting side every week.

I would go ET as I think reynolds has enough on his plate at a new club.

IF he makes the run on side then yes…But I don’t think he will…our back row could be:

Taylor, Aloiai


Aloiai, Lawrence

Lock it in…hes our new ©…maybe co capt.

Lawrence is perfect…. IF he’s in the starting 13, and it needs to be someone who’d almost be a walk up into the team.

Grub hasn’t been there long enough, so in all honesty, it needs to be someone like Taylor, or dare I say it - Luke Brooks.

I believe there is a possibility of a real smoky being considered. Dont rule out Matt Eisenhuth. I know he’s just half a season into his career, but you could see in his first game his maturity and ability to lead. Former state cup captain who came straight in and took on a leadership role in his very first game. At 25, he’s at a good age, and was showing the ability to play 80 minutes, lead from the front and be one of the main talkers in the team. My guess is that if he gets close, he’s more likely to go vice captain, but i wouldn’t be shocked to see him with the top job. If this was his 3rd or 4th year in the top grade i think he’d be a certainty for the job.

Has Aaron Woods given his opinion to the media yet?

Kev lead Fiji very well, but not sure he will be picked in the top 13.

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