Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall look set to enter their final season, but after Farah was forced out to play with Souths, and Marshall had a cameo in Super Rugby, both are ineligible for a testimonial.
Lawrence, who debuted under Tim Sheens as a 17-year-old, has been a constant through some of the Tigers’ turbulent times, with a trial game in his hometown of Campbelltown the ultimate testimonial opportunity. Such a game allows for money to be raised for charity.
«If you ask any fan who they think is the most passionate at this club, they’d say Chris Lawrence,» Marshall said. «I was actually filthy ‘Sutto’ hadn’t had one because of what he had done for South Sydney. If you play for your club that long like Sutto has, you’re entitled to one, and Chris Lawrence is exactly the same.
«Through thick and thin he’s been here the longest, he’s been through the highs and lows, and drives the standards here at training like nobody I’ve seen.
«It’s fitting, and if Sutto is allowed to have one, he should have one.»
Farah added: «It would be awesome for ‘Rowdy’ to have one. He’s a Campbelltown boy and I remember him making his debut as a 17-year-old when he was still in high school.
«I don’t see him leaving. It’s something we should promote in the game … we should reward loyalty.»
Lawrence is only 30 but would love the chance to play a 15th straight season at the Tigers. The bond he has built with Luke Brooks on the left edge is just one of the reasons he would love a new deal.
«I think I’ve still got at least another couple of years left in me, I’ve only been at this club, I’d love to stay, and hopefully it takes care of itself,» Lawrence said.
«Footy is a funny game. Obviously the club has some things to sort out. At some point there will come a time and we will sit down and have a chat about it and go from there.
«I’d never say never [about going elsewhere]. As everyone knows in today’s game, footy can change from month to month. As players we need to learn to be open, even though you don’t want to be at times. I’d never say never because it might not be my decision. But I’d love to stay here.»
As for his combination with Brooks, Lawrence said: «He helped me out with his form last year while I felt I took some of the pressure off him as well.
«I’ve already seen the improvements again on the training field. I saw through the year how his game grew and he matured, but there was still so much improvement, which is scary. I can’t wait to see him this year.»
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.