Silver lining for Lawrence after injury-ravaged season
October 11, 2011
“I’m fresh and feeling good and keen” … Chris Lawrence.
THE difference between a memorable season and a forgettable one can come down to a couple of letters. At various points during the season Chris Lawrence was having such a bad time, following a dislocated hip, that he was resigned to simply organising Wests Tigers’ end-of-season trip.
Now here he is, in Newcastle, at the start of an end-of-season tour.
Tour or trip? The difference is both tiny and significant.
‘‘This is one I’d much rather,’’ Lawrence said yesterday. ‘‘When I first did my hip, I basically thought that was my season. Even some of my teammates thought that was the end, so they were getting me to organise the trip … but about six weeks in, I thought I’d be back in a couple of months and I [was].’’
That he will play his second Test match, against New Zealand on Sunday at Ausgrid Stadium, is testament to his talent but also his work ethic. Even after his return from his dislocated hip, which could have ended his career, he suffered a serious hamstring tear which again stalled his season.
‘‘It’s been a pretty frustrating year for me, so when I heard my name get read out in the squad, I was pretty excited because it was some good news to finish off a bad year,’’ the 22-year-old said.
‘‘The most frustrating part of that was doing all the hard work to get back from that injury then to have to go down with a hammy again. It’s part of footy, and you’ve got to cop it, but I’m just glad I got the opportunity to continue to play this year.’’
His injuries have meant he played just nine matches during the season but, rather than hampering him before the Four Nations tournament, Lawrence maintained that all the time he spent on the sidelines might actually have a silver lining.
‘‘To be honest, I feel really fresh,’’ he said. ‘‘The one advantage I have is I haven’t had a lot of football, so I’m fresh and feeling good and keen.’’
Given the problems the Kangaroos have had with their centres, Lawrence is a strong chance of playing most or all matches on tour. While the squad was given some relief yesterday when Greg Inglis was cleared by his surgeon to join the squad following post-season knee surgery, the Australians have already lost a host of others.
Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Jamie Lyon, Jarryd Hayne, Brent Tate and Jamal Idris were not available for the tour for varying reasons, giving Willie Tonga and Lawrence the chance to jostle for the vacant right-centre position. Both will play against the Kiwis on Sunday, with Inglis rested.
‘‘I’m comfortable playing either side,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously I’ve been a left centre for the last two or three years at the Tigers but when I first came through the grades there I was playing on the right side, and on the right wing, and a lot of junior footy on the right too.’’
South Sydney forward Dave Taylor was yesterday ruled out of the Four Nations due to a shoulder injury. Selectors are yet to decide who will be drafted into the squad.
Good on Chris for not giving up, he has worked hard to recover and get fit and put himself in the frame for test selection- a great achievement from someone who could have stuck to organising the end of year trip and written himself off preparing for 2012 instead. Shows plenty of character and determination, all the very best to him on Sunday and beyond.
I genuinely admire this young man. Onya, Chris. Future Wests Tigers captain.
As do I Florrie, after all he has gone through this year with injuries he deserves a bit of good luck. Hope you have you have blinder Chris. Stay healthy
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I shake my head in laughter that he has made the Kangaroo tour.
Dont get me wrong I love Chrissy…but in NO WAY has he earned this rep jumper and I would have much rathered see him take the off season to get over all his injuries and hit season 2012 running for us. He is an integeral part of our side and his absence this year most definitely hampered us.
The boys put in such a huge effort to make the 8 that they had very little left in the tank to do anything about it in the finals. If we are to win the comp, Lawry needs to play a minimum of 20 games next season. Add that to an ANZAC test and 3 Origins + some finals and its a big year ahead of him.
I really question Sheensies wisdom in taking him on tour after the disaster that has been his past 2 years.