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Lawrence happy to bow out with Benji in last hurrah

Retiring Wests Tigers forward Chris Lawrence admits the opportunity to leave the club alongside Benji Marshall is special despite the veteran playmaker wanting another season in the NRL.

Lawrence fronted the media for the final press conference of his career on Wednesday ahead of his 253rd and final game.

However, his teammate of 11 years, Marshall, has opted for a low-key preparation in the lead-up to his final game in club colours after his departure was confirmed earlier this month.

Marshall remains on the lookout for a new club and will farewell the joint venture after 256 games across two stints.

"Obviously it's sad for Benji to be leaving the club but for me I'm glad he's playing in my last game," Lawrence told

"He's been a massive part of my career, not just because we've been in the same team but playing next to each other for a large majority of that.

"He's made me look good and not only are we good mates on the field but off the field we've got a special friendship.

Marshall rifles a pass to Kepaoa

"Whether he retires or ends up at another NRL club or overseas it's been great to be part of most of his career."

Lawrence said he held no regrets over the club's finals misfortunes during his time at the club, including this season, after the squad fell short of the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season.

The 31-year-old's return from horrific facial fractures in 2019 was a career highlight and a story of inspiration following fears his career may have been cut short.

"I was really determined to get back, it was about proving a point that there was still a desire to come back and play," Lawrence said.

"Because I had that motivation to come back and contribute. I had a young daughter who didn't really understand about footy and I wanted her to be at least semi-old enough to see me playing.

"I knew after coming back that everything was going to be a bonus and I haven't taken it for granted.

"I would've loved to have played more finals footy and a grand final โ€“ things like that, like a lot of other players, but I'm not going to kick stones.

"I had a bit of control over that but largely it's out of my personal control, I learned many years ago you can't control things around you. I've just been appreciative to have played over 250 games.

Lawrence content with NRL departure

"I'm just trying to soak up the last week of training, being around the boys and the last game as well."

Lawrence held optimism for the side's future ambitions under the guidance of Michael Maguire and will remain a person of support should the club call upon him for an off-field role in retirement.

"There's going to be a lot of new faces but I look at the development of the young guys over the last 12 months and I see the effort and attitude that they put in," Lawrence said.

"If they keep applying themselves then the success is going to come. A lot of that work ethic has been instilled by Madge.

"It's been well-documented we've underperformed over the last decade but particularly over the last few years that it hasn't been down to effort or application at training."

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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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