Lawrence completes journey from wing to prop

When Michael Lawrence was handed his first Huddersfield starting squad number it was on the wing.

The Giants’ Academy product started his career with the club as an explosive outside back, and he was handed the number two shirt back in 2010.

Now, eleven years on, his journey to the middle of the field is complete. This season he will wear squad number 10, having moved first to the centres, then second row, loose forward and now the front row.

Lawrence insists his role this year won’t change, despite wearing 10 instead of 13, with the modern style of play involving only small differences between “middle unit” players.

But it does complete a positional transition that not many in the sport make, with Tony Clubb of Wigan among a handful of examples in recent years.

Lawrence said: “I wouldn’t have believed I’d end up here if you’d told me back in 2007 when I made my debut.

“It’s just the way my game has evolved and my body has grown over the years.

“I’m a lot bigger now, and the defensive side of my game has become my strong point, along with being fit.

“It’s something I’ve relished and enjoyed, but my role won’t change so much from last year.

“There isn’t much difference being a middle-unit player from loose forward to number 10; most teams play with three middle forwards.

“The system we play might be a bit different this year, but I don’t think there will be much difference in my role.”

That change in team approach will come under new coach Ian Watson, who Lawrence has been impressed with so far.

“The coaching team has taken us by the scruff of the neck and put their philosophies and they way they want to play in place,” Lawrence said.

“All the boys have bought into it and that’s all you can ask for early on.

“He’s very direct with you and the role he wants you to play.”

Lawrence has also backed Watson’s view on arriving at the club that the Giants have everything in place to challenge the sport’s top four.

“I completely agree; it’s been a long time since we’ve had a piece of silverware.

“Our last play-offs were in 2015 and the League Leaders’ Shield was 2013. But with the quality of our squad, our facilities and our Academy, we should be achieving a lot more.

“Watto has brought some extra quality in and we’ve got strength in depth all over the park, so we can have some success this year.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.