Huddersfield stalwart Michael Lawrence has St Helens and New Zealand in his sights as he plots a big 15th season in the professional game.
The Giants’ clunky start to the Super League campaign, which continued with Friday’s single-point defeat at Hull KR, has come as no surprise to the 32-year-old forward, proud club captain and Jamaica international.
But after an opening-round 22-10 defeat at Hull, Lawrence saw signs of progress from Ian Watson’s side against Catalans, despite a 20-10 loss.
Then came the 36-18 Challenge Cup third-round win at Leigh, setting up a Friday, May 7 quarter-final clash with St Helens, who are Huddersfield’s next league opponents on Thursday.
“We’d like to have got a win on the board earlier, of course, but with a change of coach and the arrival of new players, it was always likely to take some time to gel,” said Lawrence, who made his 300th club appearance against Hull KR.
“The coach has come in with some great ideas and changed a number of things, including the way we train as well as some tactical stuff, and we only had the one pre-season match.
“We weren’t too worried, and in the game against Catalans, although we lost, we could see things were coming together.”
Lawrence has been appointed club captain by Watson, and in the absence of on-field skipper Aidan Sezer through injury, he wore the armband on the pitch for the first three games of the season.
“It’s great to lead your hometown club,” added Lawrence, who joined the Giants’ noted development system in 2004 and made his first-team debut at 17 three years later, becoming the first player born in the 1990s decade to play in Super League.
“It’s a role I take seriously and I’m proud to have it and to have been given the responsibility.”
Long-time team-mate Jermaine McGillvary followed up his hat-trick against Leigh by joining Tuesday’s England squad training session.
Huddersfield duo Jake Wardle and Matty English were late additions to Shaun Wade’s squad.
And Lawrence is tipping McGillvary to make his mark at this year’s World Cup, explaining: “I don’t think there’s a better winger in Super League.
“He’s been consistent for so long, he trains really well, and as long as he can stay fit, I think he’ll be good to go.”
Lawrence, meanwhile, is looking forward to Jamaica’s first World Cup, which will bring group games against Ireland, New Zealand and Lebanon.
“It’s a great prospect, especially coming up against the Kiwis, and I know the boys are looking forward to it,” he said.
“The job is that much harder because we have missed out on some time together because of the pandemic, but we’ll make the best of the situation.
“We have some experienced players from Super League and the Championship, plus some coming over from Jamaica, and I think we’ll be competitive.”
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