Loyalty. It’s a dying trait in the world of professional sport.
Long gone are the days of countless one-club men. Financial gain is often too great a temptation for athletes during their short careers. Clubs themselves have grown cold-blooded and ruthless in running their business.
But Michael Lawrence is an exception in an increasingly treacherous profession. He is Huddersfield Giants through and through. Ask him what he does for a living, and he’ll tell you he’s a Huddersfield Giants player, not a Rugby League player.
It’s been 14 years since the 28-year-old first joined the club as a teenager. Since then, he has, in the eyes of his teammates and many supporters, been the epitome of what Huddersfield Giants stands for.
This year, Lawrence celebrates his testimonial. Few can boast such an accomplishment while still in their twenties. Since making his debut as a 17-year-old; he was the first 90s born player to play in Super League, he has gone on to make over 250 appearances.
“Huddersfield is all I’ve known all my life,” he said.
“Huddersfield has been the only club I’ve ever wanted to play for. So long as the club wants me, I want to be here.
“I’ve been here that long I know the staff who work in the stadium on matchdays. The club, the people, the staff, I know how much this club means to all these people. I see it when I’m in the supermarket after a game on a Friday night and they’re all asking me what went right or what went wrong.
“We don’t have the biggest fanbase but definitely one of the most passionate. The players and the coaching staff work so hard and we’re all on the same page.”
The Giants will celebrate his career when they take on Bradford on Sunday (3pm KO). That said, Lawrence is keen to stress it will only be to celebrate his career so far.
“I want to play for as long as I can, represent my hometown club and bring in a major honour.
“The testimonial is something I’m very proud and privileged to have achieved and I hope all the fans enjoy the events this year.
“But I’m not done yet. I’ve always wanted to achieve something with my hometown club and I still strive to that that every year, that’s still what motivates me. We got the League Leaders’ Shield but I want to lift a major trophy with this team.”