HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS waved goodbye to one of their longest-serving players as club captain Michael Lawrence put pen to paper on a two-year deal at neighbours Bradford Bulls.
The 32-year-old forward, who played all in all three of Jamaica’s games at the World Cup, completed his move after the Giants sent promising pack pair George Roby and Fenton Rogers to Odsal on season-long loans.
Huddersfield-born popular Giants Academy product Lawrence, known as ‘Bruno’ and originally an outside back before moving into the pack, made 324 first-team appearances over 15 years, scoring 52 tries.
The former England Knights player signed a two-year contract extension little more than twelve months ago, but with Huddersfield coach Ian Watson reshaping his squad as he tries to build on making this year’s play-offs, he has joined the Bulls in a bid for regular appearances.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Michael leaves as a modern-day icon of the club and town. He has been a model professional,” said Giants managing director Richard Thewlis.
“This year was the first when he simply didn’t get the game time he’d become accustomed to.
“While it hurt him, he battled on, but the reality is he wants to play week in, week out and the opportunity for him to do so has arisen elsewhere. I know it’s one he is excited about.”
Lawrence added: “I’ve been lucky enough to live out my dream to represent my home town for so long, and I’ve made so many great memories on and off the field.”
Meanwhile Huddersfield are keen to see further progress from Roby and Rogers over a year with Bradford, who are plotting a push for the Championship play-offs under coach Mark Dunning.
Impressive hooker Roby, 20, won this year’s League One Player of the Year award as he helped Swinton to promotion through the play-offs after being loaned to the Lions following a stint with North Wales Crusaders in 2021.
He joined the Giants from Warrington ahead of the 2020 season.
Prop Rogers, 19, had a ten-game spell at Rochdale after a brief stint at Oldham the year before.
The son of former Oldham, Rochdale and Swinton prop Wes Rogers, he came through the Huddersfield youth system after catching the eye in the junior set-up at Saddleworth Rangers.
Now he and Roby will go through Huddersfield’s pre-season schedule before linking up with the Bulls.
“This arrangement is an ideal next step for both players’ development and one that will be a positive for all concerned,” explained Thewlis.
“The two of them will continue to train as and be full-time players and enjoy all the facilities and expertise we have here while playing for a team most see as being a top-four challenger in an ultra-competitive Championship competition.
“The deals afford the opportunity to return to us should a Super League playing opportunity present itself.”