Lawrence starts for Tigers in tonights eliminator

Wests Tigers received a boost, with star centre Chris Lawrence declaring himself a certain starter for tonight’s elimination NRL final against the Warriors.

Lawrence, who has not played since injuring his hamstring in the Tigers round 22 victory over St George Illawarra, said he was close to playing in last Friday’s qualifying final with the Dragons but was a late scratching as a precaution.

Coach Tim Sheens confirmed Lawrence would be selected in the team announced on Tuesday, and while he was wary of saying the 22-year-old was a “sure thing” Lawrence himself says there is no question about his availability.

“I’m playing no matter what,” he told reporters on Monday.

“I was pretty close last week, I worked really hard earlier in the week and put my body through a lot.

“Not just my hammy, my body was pretty sore later in the week and on our session on Thursday I had another run but my body was feeling the effects of a tough early week and the medical staff thought that going into a game fatigued like that is probably not the best preparation, so they decided to give me another week and freshen up.”

Lawrence, who thought his season was over when he dislocated his hip against Canberra in round three, said it had been a tough year dealing with a series of injuries.

“Obviously when I first did my hip I thought ‘that’s the season’ so my first thoughts were basically to think about next year,” he said.

“I’ve worked pretty hard to get myself back.

“… (It’s been) very frustrating, it just feels like every time I get over one thing and I come to the back end of it something else happens.

“But I think that’s footy, you’ve got to cop the good with the bad and hopefully there can be some light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re potentially only three games away from a grand final (win), that’s the motivating factor for me at the moment.”

by Buford Balony

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