Chris Lawrence stuck in NZ extra four days because of facial injuries


“But I didn’t want to jinx myself,” Lawrence said. “I’ve seen better days but I’m getting there. Like any injury it’s tough. The toughest part was being away from my daughter [Emmerson Rose].

“Although the way my face was I was best off not being around her. I wouldn’t have wanted to scare her.

“My wife [Kathryn] was shocked when she first flew over and saw me. I was pretty unrecognisable. But she’s used to this face. She’s stuck with me now.

“I still don’t know exactly what I’ve done. There are several fractures in different areas in my face. It’s a bit of my jaw, but it’s more my teeth, the nose and eye socket.

“Hopefully I can get a bit of a return date after meeting with the surgeons. One surgeon said the facial injuries were more common in AFL.”

Lawrence could drink only smoothies for the first couple of days, including on Saturday when the Tigers lost their one and only trial against the Warriors.

In recent days he has been able to eat mashed potato while waiting for the swelling to subside.

Several images showed Lawrence’s face swollen with shocking black and blue bruising around the eyes and cheeks. Tigers officials were happy for Lawrence to forward the photos, but not the more gruesome images straight after the incident happened.

The passionate clubman was keen to build on his left-edge combination with halfback Luke Brooks, and only told the Herald last month how he was keen to start the year strongly.

“But that’s footy, there are plenty of people doing it worse off than me, unfortunately you get injured,” Lawrence said.

“The last couple of years I’ve had a fairly decent run with injuries, but you can’t dwell on the things you can’t control. I’ll focus on my rehab and once I get an idea on what surgery I need, I can start focusing on that.”

Tigers teammates Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah are just two senior players keen to see Lawrence rewarded with a new deal, which would stretch his rollercoaster ride at the club beyond 14 loyal seasons.

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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