Lawrence's forward move inevitable
While the NRL All Stars game may be new territory for Wests Tigers' Chris Lawrence, the World All Star's journey to the back row isn't groundbreaking territory.
Back in 2007, just his second year of first grade football, Lawrence was a cog in the wheel of former coach Tim Sheens's forward rotation for a little under his 18 games for the year.
While never officially named in the back row until last season at the Tigers, Lawrence's endeavours in the forwards started in Round 8, 2007 – where he scored six tries in the next five games from the interchange bench.
As the 27-year-old readies himself to mix it with notorious hard men in James Graham, Martin Taupau, Tom Burgess and Kane Evans this week, Lawrence said he's always seen the forwards as an inevitable destination.
"I knew at some point I'd end up here, Sheeny's had me playing there while Taniela Tuiaki was on the wing and Paul Whatuira was still there in the centres," Lawrence told NRL.com.
"I've always played a number of positions: wing, centre, five-eighth, lock and second row. The way it sort of worked out at the Tigers currently, the structure we play and the players we have, my best position is in the second row.
"That's where I fit in best and I really enjoyed playing there last year, it got me in the game a lot more which I enjoyed so I'm looking forward to doing that moving forward."
Apart from embracing different training types – namely wrestling sessions – nothing will change for Lawrence in 2016, with his style of play in the centres suiting his newfound position.
"The back row suits me to be honest," he said.
"With the players we have had at the Tigers in the past like Benji Marshall, Rob Lui, Robbie Farah and Tim Moltzen they were able to really skip across and allow me to play a similar game as I do now, only I was in the centres.
"My game hasn't changed too much. It's just a bit closer to the action."
While Lawrence has managed to play in Prime Minister XIII, City Origin and Kangaroos outfits in the past, the Eagle Vale St Andrews junior stressed the importance of the All Stars fixture.
"I'm just really looking forward to playing in the event that it is, it's an event that must stay," Lawrence said.
"From a personal side of things I get to play with players who I would never have the chance of playing alongside otherwise. To be able to spend this week with them and play a game with them is going to be pretty special."