Long-term NRL deals a problem: Lawrence

Wests Tigers veteran Chris Lawrence says he has yet to be tapped on the shoulder to leave the NRL club, but won’t be surprised if he is.


Despite growing speculation the 26-year-old would be offloaded due to salary cap pressures, Lawrence said he had no reason to believe he wouldn’t be in Tigers colours next season.

“Next season I’ll be at the Tigers. Beyond that, I’m not quite sure,” he said on Tuesday.

“At this stage I’ll be at the club in 2016 and that’s the way it stands at the moment.

“At this stage I haven’t heard anything that will point otherwise.”

Instead it was skipper Robbie Farah was sensationally given permission to leave Concord last week, two years before his current deal expires.

Lawrence, who signed a lucrative, five-year extension with the club after representing the Kangaroos in 2011, believes there’s a growing trend of NRL players who aren’t seeing out long-term deals with their club.

“It’s not just our club. You see it at every club when players sign long-term contracts,” he said.

“Not a lot of players are seeing those out, going to other clubs, retiring, going overseas.

“These things are always going to come up with senior players towards the back-end of their deal.”

The former City representative said loyalty between player and club was a casualty of the progressive nature of the NRL as a business.

“The loyalty aspect on both accounts isn’t there these days, because it’s turning into a more professional game,” he said.

“And that’s shown with the increase in the TV rights deal and more money that’s coming into the game.

“There’s got to be a trade-off somewhere and as players, we just have to get used to that.”

Farah’s impending exit, together with Keith Galloway and Pat Richards’ departure to Super League, leaves Lawrence as the oldest player contracted at the club in 2016.

The centre-turned-backrower said it was imperative the club scour the market place for experience over the summer, and implored them to keep Farah.

“We’ve got a young squad and we’ve got a lot of talent at this squad, but obviously with that young squad comes inexperience,” he said.

“There is a need for senior players to really mentor those young guys.

“For me personally, it’d be great to see Robbie here to lead on and off the field to lead those younger guys through.”