Prop Brenton Lawrence says Manly have a host of unknown frontrowers readying to prove themselves in 2014, just as he did last year.
Manly prop Brenton Lawrence has dismissed suggestions the Sea Eagles will be vulnerable up front after losing four of the NRL’s most experienced big men.
The 2013 grand finalists enter this year minus Brent Kite, Richie Fa’aoso, George Rose and Joe Galuvao, who between them have played over 840 first grade games.
While acknowledging the big loss of experience, Lawrence says a bunch of hungry frontrowers are ready to fill the gap.
Former Gold Coast forward Lawrence knows just how well players can respond to opportunity.
A fringe first grader before 2013, he emerged as one of the buys of last season as he played 27 games for Manly, including the finals series, earning a call-up to Mal Meninga’s emerging Queensland squad.
“We might not have (many) blokes that have played 50 or more games in the frontrow but there’s a lot of guys that are in a similar situation to myself last year and I think in a sense that’s probably more dangerous,” said Lawrence.
“All those blokes have got a point to prove, so every week they go out thinking they’ve got to play hard and not let anyone down.
“There’s probably no better position than frontrow to be able to go out there and really stick it to your opposition.”
The Sea Eagles lost Kite and Rose to Penrith and Melbourne due to salary cap pressure, while Galuvao retired and Fa’aoso was forced into premature retirement because of a neck injury, leaving the frontrow stocks seemingly threadbare.
But Lawrence said players like James Hasson (11 games for Manly), Brisbane recruit Dunamis Lui (27 NRL games), South Sydney recruit Josh Starling, Tyson Andrews (Mackay Cutters) and promising local junior Jake Trbojevic were ready to step up.
“They may not be well known to the general public and people might be saying we’re a bit light, but put all those guys into one pack and we’re certainly not light on frontrow forwards,” he said.
“They’ve all got something to prove. There’s two spots available so I don’t think they’re going to be going out there anything short of trying to prove themselves.”