Josh Starling and Brenton Lawrence re-enter the first grade line up to take on Wests Tigers on Monday night. Both forwards excelled in reserve grade last weekend and were rewarded with the NRL call-up.
Starling will reclaim the number 8 jersey with Jake Trbojevic moving into lock, but it will be Lawrence’s first NRL game since round one of 2015.
Injuries ruled him out for the majority of the season, although returning to NSW cup towards the latter end. Not only do they perform on the field, but off the field also, as both are admirable ambassadors for the Sea Eagles, and were nominated for the Ken Stephen Medal in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Brenton Lawrence was nominated for the medal in 2014 for his active involvement in ‘Sea Eagles Foundation’ programs and work with Autism Spectrum Australia. He continues to be an ambassador for Autism Spectrum, spreading more awareness about it all to the wider community. After his nephew was diagnosed with Autism, Lawrence provides a truly caring and understanding mentor for kids and families dealing with it.
Josh Starling was nominated in 2015 for his work with the Aboriginal youth and country children at Royal Far West. He educates the kids on the positive choices and making changes in life for the better.
Being from the country himself, he understands these kids and they benefit from his time and compassion towards them. The lovable pair are always out in the community giving back to the game, which is to be commended.
However, back to on the field, Brenton Lawrence started in every game of the 2013 season and won Manly’s best and fairest award the following year. Whilst his injuries may have set him back in 2015, Lawrence is more than ready to return stronger than ever, bulking up in the off season.
Josh Starling also had his fair share of injuries last season, but still managed to play 14 NRL games. The 25-year-old averaged almost 100 running metres and made over 200 tackles in those 14 games.
Staying injury-free will be his first priority but I know he is itching to get across for at least one try this year. I am so excited to see two of my favourites back in the first grade team this week, but more-so hopeful to see a better performance from the team as a whole, than last week!
Ella Kasmar x