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Folkes 'toughening Wests Tigers up'

By David Beniuk 07/03/2010 08:21:23 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers centre Chris Lawrence says the presence of premiership-winning former coach Steve Folkes as the NRL side's conditioner has made them mentally tougher for the season ahead.

Lawrence is relishing Folkes' tough fitness regime as he aims to stay injury free and finally cement a place in the game's representative teams.

The gifted back has played for the Prime Minister's XI but injury prevented him from taking up the spot he earned in last year's City side.

"I was a bit disappointed last year, I got picked for the City team but then got injured and missed all the rep season so I just want to first and foremost stay fit," he told AAP.

"If I can stay fit and get on the field for the Tigers then it's just a matter of playing good footy.

"I know I can play good footy but it's also about consistent footy as well ... then it's out of my hands."

This year Lawrence also has State of Origin in his sights.

"Definitely. First City-Country because I got picked last year but didn't get to play so I'd love to play in that game," he said.

The 21-year-old has battled back and groin injuries during the off-season, but said Folkes, who coached the Bulldogs to the premiership in 2004, had made a big difference to the Tigers' preparation.

"Folkesy's sort of made us mentally tougher, making sure we turn up each day for training whether we feel sore some days or you're mentally tired some days, he makes sure we turn up and are ready to train hard," Lawrence said.

"There might be weeks you're a bit down (during the season) so it should help our consistency.

"He definitely has a lot of variety and there's a lot more tough sessions.

"Where in the past we'd have one or two a week, we seem to have something tough every day."

The arrival this week of dual international Lote Tuqiri has placed big expectations on the 2005 premiers, but Lawrence said the Tigers were setting their own standards.

"We're not listening to that but I think we're expecting a lot more of ourselves," he said.

"Last year we were very disappointed not to make the finals, we sort of believed in ourselves that we were good enough.

"We want to put the pressure on ourselves to try and make the finals because we believe we are good enough."

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