MICHAEL LAWRENCE has bulked-up in a bid to make a Huddersfield Giants’ starting pack spot his own.
The former England Academy winger now weighs in at over 100kg after spending a first full pre-season training with the forwards.
The 22-year-old has spent the past two seasons switching from centre to back row.
But Lawrence has now set his sights on a permanent move, even though he knows the competition for a regular back-row berth for Super League XVIII promises to be ferocious.
“I now regard myself as a back-rower who can switch to centre, rather than a centre who can switch to the pack,” he revealed.
“That’s particularly the case after spending my pre-season working with the forwards. It’s something I’ve never done before.
“I’ve really enjoyed the extra physical demands of the training, and that’s made me even more confident I’m ready to make the switch.
“When you work with the forwards you spend a lot more of your time bashing each other about, whereas in the backs there’s a lot more passing and catching practice.
“I’ve had to put on a bit more weight to make the adjustment, which means I’m now the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m now over 100kg, which is over 16 stone.
“But thanks to the work of (head conditioner) Greg Brown, I’ve also been able to maintain my levels of fitness, which means I’ll still be capable of playing a full 80 minutes.
“And because there’s so much competition for places in the pack, I hope that’s something I’ll be able to use to my advantage.”
Lawrence will get the first chance to show how productive pre-season has been in tomorrow week’s opening trial clash at St Helens (8.00).
“Things do appear to be going fantastically, but the acid test is obviously when we get out there on the field,” he added.