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Finals fling no less than club legend Lawrence deserves

As if breaking an eight-year finals drought wasn't enough to drive them, Wests Tigers players now have the added motivation of sending club legend Chris Lawrence out on a high.

Lawrence, who announced his retirement on Tuesday, was part of the last Tigers team to play a finals match, on September 16, 2011 against the Warriors.

The only other member of the current outfit who was there that night is Benji Marshall, who scored a try in a heartbreaking 22-20 defeat.

Sitting in all too familiar territory in ninth spot, the Tigers face a gruelling run home which includes matches against the current top four sides the Roosters, Panthers, Storm and Eels.

And while nothing will detract from Lawrence's legacy and his outstanding contribution across 15 seasons, his teammates are desperate to send him out with another finals appearance.

Lawrence content with NRL departure

"That's what Chris deserves and what our team deserves," back-rower Luke Garner told on Wednesday.

"We'll be pushing every week to do that and need to win over half our games at least to make it happen.

"Apart from my parents and a couple of footy coaches he's probably had one of the biggest impacts on my career.

"His retirement is a bittersweet feeling for me. He's taught me a lot with little things that a coach can't see or experience. At the same time, he deserves a rest. His body has gone through a lot."

Apart from tackling the four big guns, Michael Maguire's men also have clashes against Sea Eagles and South Sydney, two sides likely to be in the race for spots in the lower part of the eight.

One of the few NRL players left on social media platform Twitter, in-form winger David Nofoaluma is well aware of the jokes that get around about the Tigers finishing ninth yet again.

"I actually find it pretty funny and it has been something that we've spoken about in the past," Nofoaluma said.

"But we have a different mindset where we're just focused on making the top eight. There's a lot more to play for with Chris's retirement and this club deserves to be playing finals footy and be consistent.

"It's our job to not only doing for ourselves but for everyone who supports us. about that. It's only up to us to do that. I'm excited to be able to pull off something that is still possible.

Farah pays tribute to Lawrence - will Benji be the next to retire?

"If we can do that we'll prove a lot of people wrong.

"I just think we've got a  great opportunity to put ourselves in a good position from here."

Forwards Alex Twal (sternum) and Thomas Mikaele (knee) trained with the main squad on Wednesday as they push to be late inclusions for Saturday's clash with the Roosters.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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