Manly NRL prop Brenton Lawrence says he is relishing the chance to come up against Cowboys Test props James Tamou and Matt Scott.
Manly’s Brenton Lawrence has North Queensland’s Test bookends Matt Scott and James Tamou squarely in his sights ahead of Friday’s round-seven clash in Gosford.
Despite the Cowboys’ indifferent start to the NRL season under new coach Paul Green, Scott and Tamou’s go-forward has been relentless.
Tamou has topped more than 100m in each of the six games so far, while Scott has only fallen short of the mark in their big round-five win over Newcastle when he ran for 96m.
Sea Eagles prop Lawrence has been arguably the most-improved NRL player over the past two seasons and is relishing the chance to come up against the Kangaroos’ duo.
“If you look at their pack, they have two Test forwards there in the front row, so they are not a team you can turn your back on,” he said.
“When you are playing, you want to play against the best. There is no better test than playing against two Test props.
“I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can get on top of them.
“They play direct, they are strong and they just keep coming.
“That is the thing about a good rugby league player – they never seem to stop.”
Perennial finals contenders Manly have enjoyed a 4-2 start to the season and sit fourth on the premiership ladder, while the Cowboys’ slow starts have continued. They are 2-4 and in 12th spot.
Assistant coach Terry Matterson said it was time the Cowboys kickstarted their season.
“Manly are a big challenge for us; they have been a good team for a number of years now,” he said.
“The season is getting on and we have to turn our close losses into wins.”
Veteran prop Jason King returns for Manly with Jesse Sene-Lefao moving to 18th man, while back-rower Gavin Cooper is set to play for the Cowboys after overcoming a knee injury.
Kane Linnett (leg) is in doubt for the Cowboys. Javid Bowen is likely to come into the North Queensland side if the Scottish centre is ruled out.