Lawrence's 10 and a half performance
Wests Tigers veteran Chris Lawrence was already bound for the field when he was called back to the sheds and told he'd be assuming playmaker duties in his side's eventual 30-22 win over the Rabbitohs on Thursday night.
Five-eighth Mitchell Moses was ruled out after the Tigers' warm-up with a quad strain, unbeknown to most of his teammates who had already left ANZ Stadium's inner-sanctum.
The verdict on Moses's fitness apparently came 10 seconds before the scheduled kick-off, which left Tigers' staff little time to round up the players and deliver the bad news.
"We only found out about it when we were running out on to the field. We were halfway out the tunnel and we were pulled back because we weren't aware he had an issue," Tigers co-captain Dene Halatau said.
"I had left the sheds already and half of the team was just about on the field so we turned around and ran back up and JT let us know what was going on. Quick reshuffle and we didn't have much time to think about it."
Lawrence, known for his versatility throughout his 11-year career, was not daunted by the late positional shift.
"I was basically out of the tunnel and I hear this 'hang on' and I thought we weren't supposed to head out yet so I walked back in and they were like 'you're five-eighth now, mate'," Lawrence said.
"I've been playing the game long enough now and I've played in a number of positions so it didn't really faze me and that's probably why they put me there.
"Even though I hadn't trained there all week, we just had to tweak a few things with Mitch being out and (halfback Luke) Brooksy taking over all the kicking."
Lawrence was buoyed by the Tigers' ability to finally prove their worth after their past six games prior to beating South Sydney had ended in defeat.
It was only five days before their win over Souths that they were comprehensively beaten 60-6 by a rampant Raiders outfit, which Lawrence said humiliated them into a result.
"It was very embarrassing last week and very out of character. In previous weeks we didn't get the wins but we had been close and the effort had been there. I don't know where that was last week," Lawrence said.
"Our attitude was just wrong. Obviously after a loss like that you do a lot of soul searching as a team and for us senior players we had a point to prove too.
"We believed in our ability when nobody else did so it was time to prove that not only to everyone else but ourselves too."
Prior to their 54-point loss to Canberra, the Tigers' five other losses were on average by a converted try or less.
However Lawrence said the Tigers took confidence rather than frustration from their narrow defeats to top eight outfits Parramatta, Melbourne and Cronulla.
"That's why last week was so disappointing because there were so many steps backwards and it was just a terrible performance," he said.
"It really hit home that if you're far off your game you're going to get beaten heavily by any team in the competition so it was a nice lesson for the young guys."