Lawrence the new Daley, say Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lawrence the new Daley, say Tigers

By David Beniuk and Jim Morton 01/07/2010 04:48:14 PM Comments (0)

The Wests Tigers believe they have the new Laurie Daley on their hands in Chris Lawrence, and future NSW sides will reap the benefits.

City Origin centre Lawrence will move to five-eighth to partner Benji Marshall in the Tigers' halves in coming weeks with regular halfback Robert Lui still recovering from a knee injury.

Coach Tim Sheens has reshuffled his backline for Friday night's clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium as the Tigers continue a long-term plan of turning Lawrence into a bona fide No.6.

Tigers assistant Peter Gentle said Sheens saw similar qualities in Lawrence to Daley.

The former Test star converted from centre to five-eighth under Sheens as Canberra won three premierships in 1989, '90 and '94.

"Tim likens him to Laurie Daley," Gentle told reporters on Thursday.

"NSW is crying out for a six, Trent Barrett's retiring, so it's a good opportunity for Chris for the next few weeks to show what he's got at six and we're very confident."

Gentle said Lawrence had spent much of the pre-season training at five-eighth after a handful of appearances there in previous seasons while Marshall was injured.

"We've been pushing (Lawrence) more and more into that pivot role and I think he'll complement Benji pretty well," Gentle said.

"Now that he's missed his State of Origin jumper for the centres - only just - it's a good opportunity to show the selectors he can also play six.

"It's something we've been keen to do for quite a while, it's not some knee-jerk thing where Robbie Lui's out for another couple of weeks."

Kiwi captain Marshall was originally named at pivot for the Broncos clash but will move to halfback.

Daniel Fitzhenry, named at No.7, moves to the wing and Geoff Daniela to Lawrence's regular left centre position.

Gentle said Marshall's game would change little.

"Even when he's had six on his back, he's still been playing as a seven in our eyes, we still play him on the ball," he said.

Lawrence will come up against Broncos teenager Corey Norman, who will deputise for Queensland captain Darren Lockyer.

Norman attended the same Gold Coast school as Marshall and Broncos coach Ivan Henjak has likened his elusive running game to the Tigers star.

"Corey's a skilful player, he's a little bit different to Benji but in a few years time I'm sure he's going to be quite a dangerous player like Benji is," Henjak said.

He said Norman was "in the mix" to eventually succeed veteran Lockyer.

"The beauty of the situation we have with Corey at the moment is we don't have to rush him," henjak said.

"With your ball-players and your decision-makers, they are under a hell of a lot of pressure and I'd hate for him to have to handle that week-in and week-out in the NRL."

Brisbane will be without Queensland stars Lockyer, Israel Folau and Sam Thaiday while the Tigers are unaffected by Origin.

Tigers captain Robbie Farah bristled at suggestions that would motivate his third-placed side after Sheens had called for his players to be recognised by selectors.

"What's the motivation for? To play in the fourth State of Origin game?" Farah asked.

"State of Origin's gone this year for us now, we've just got to focus on our season here at the Tigers."

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