MICHAEL LAWRENCE returns for the Giants at Salford today determined to carry on from where he left off before picking up an ankle injury four games ago.
The 19-year-old centre was in the form of his life before suffering ligament damage to his left ankle in the opening stages of his side’s 26-20 Super League victory over champions Leeds Rhinos on March 14.
Since then, the former Newsome Panthers junior has been forced to watch from the sidelines after starting all of his side’s opening five 2010 fixtures.
But Lawrence is back this afternoon and admits he can’t wait to take to The Willows field.
“It’s really tough having to watch games, and it’s also very frustrating,” said Lawrence.
“And I think the injury is probably the most frustrating I’ve had, because I was so happy with my form at the start of the year and loving every game I was playing in.
“I’d hoped in pre-season that would be the case. I felt fitter and stronger than I’d ever been, and I now feel much more comfortable playing at this level.
“But I think it was the extra shot of confidence Browny gave at the start of the season that was the best thing for me.
“It was then he told me that he felt I’d served my apprenticeship now, and I would earn my place on merit.
“Last season, when it came to the big games, he always picked Paul Whatuira and Jamahl Lolesi ahead of me, because of their experience.
“But he’s said that’s no longer the case. He’s promised that if I’m playing well he’ll pick me, regardless of what the game is, and he was true to his word right from the start.
“Even though Fatz (Whatuira) was fit at the start of the year, Browny was picking me, because he felt I was playing well enough to keep my place.
“And it was only when I picked up my injury that I lost my place.
“I just hope that now I’m back in, I can keep hold of my spot again.”
Lawrence knows, of course, that to do that he has to return with a bang today.
But he’s hopeful there will be no real problems.
“My ankle feels good and strong, and I’ve been able to run well this week. I can’t wait to play,” he added.
“We know we’ll be in for a tough game, because Salford beat Hull in their last home fixture.
“But we do feel confident, and I’m determined to waste no time recapturing my early form.”