Wests Tigers ready to wait for Lawrence
September 6, 2011 - 6:09PM
Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has named Chris Lawrence in his side to face St George Illawarra on Friday, but admits he’s uncertain about the classy centre’s fitness.
Lawrence has been sidelined for four weeks after tearing his hamstring, and the veteran coach will give him every chance to prove he’s ready to play in the opening game of the NRL finals, but will not risk him causing further damage.
“Chris has been training and building up the strengthand endurance, which, along with speed, is the main thing with hamstrings,” Sheens told Triple M radio.
"I’ll name him, but whether he plays will be a late decision. I’m not going to risk him, losing him in a game could be disastrous.
"I’m not going to risk the team by playing him if there is some chance of it tearing.
“I will consult with my medical staff.”
Veteran prop Todd Payten will miss the clash with a quad injury, but the Dragons have a clean bill of health as the look to avenge their defeat to the Tigers last month.
Manly coach Des Hasler is confident star fullback Brett Stewart will be ready to take on North Queensland on Saturday.
Stewart has been nursing a knee injury picked up in the Sea Eagles’ win over Manly in round 25 and Hasler believes the former NSW star will be fit for the encounter at the Sydney Football Stadium.
“He should be OK after a fitness test on Thursday so we’re not looking too bad there,” Hasler said.
“But the Cowboys are going to be pretty tough opposition for us but that’s what finals footy is about.”
Brisbane welcome back Justin Hodges for Saturday’s clash with the Warriors at Suncorp after recovering from a hamstring problem.
The news is a huge boost for the Broncos, who will be without Queensland backrower Sam Thaiday, who is serving a two-match suspension, and injured fullback Josh Hoffman, who is out for the season.
Ben Te’o will switch to the forwards to cover for Thaiday, who took the early guilty plea on Tuesday following his dangerous tackle charge.
Gerard Beale will play fullback with Dale Copley promoted to the wing from the under-20s.