While Tim Sheens might be scratching his head right now, wondering where the Tigers’ mojo went last night – there might be some good news to come out of their last gasp win against the Broncos in Brisbane.
Firstly, any competition points at this stage of the season and given how even the competition is – are vital. Even ugly wins are still wins, so the Wests Tigers should be thankful they banked 2 points in the first instance.
But while there was very little cohesion, energy and direction from the Wests Tigers – the development of Chris Lawrence should be bringing a massive smile to the coaches and fans faces.
Lawrence has always been blessed with natural talent. Solidly built, yet fast and elusive – Sheens’ has compared him with Laurie Daley.
Massive wraps sure, but when Lawrence was moved to pivot last night you got to see a glimpse of how much deeper the talent within this kid runs.
While not yet a total ball player as pointed out by Phil Gould, Lawrence has the ability to take on the line and blow it right open.
Few halves in recent years have had a similar ability. Sure, the Benji’s, JT’s and Lockyers can slice, step and swerve their way through the line – but Lawrence is different.
When he hits the gas pedal, he blows things wide open. He seemingly has the burst of speed and line bust ability like Daley did – powering through would be tacklers.
Yet, he also seems to have the time and space that Jason Smith commanded throughout his latter career.
Smith was never blessed with a beautiful step and an elusive shimmy, he used the time, space and created opportunities.
Ok, so these are some big comparisons – but Lawrence has the ability to genuinely replicate thees guys even further.
If Benji Marshall had been more successful at halfback and Dean Collis remained at the club, there would have been a strong push for Lawrence to spend more time at number 6.
Even Braith Anasta – who was touted heavily when he debuted at the Bulldogs didn’t quite have the ability of Lawrence at the same point of his early career.
Lawrence has more speed to burn and can seemingly power through the line when he hits the gas – players are in two minds when trying to defend to him and thats his biggest strength.
But while the Tigers might be doing some soul searching in the week ahead, wondering why they couldn’t put major points on a baby Broncos outfit – they can take heart that their ladder position remains healthy and their depth continues to loss impressive.
With Moltzen, Tuiaki, Ryan and Cayless all sitting in the sheds – they have some tricks still up their sleeves.
It’s not all bad in Tiger town. They just need to wipe last night from their memories.