Lawrence cleared to make NRL return

Manly have given prop Brenton Lawrence the green-light to return to the NRL after fighting his way back from a horror back injury.

Lawrence has been cleared by Manly staff to turn out in round one after a strong showing in the side’s 24-24 trial draw with Cronulla on Sunday.

In promising signs for the forgotten prop, during a 60-minute stint he took the line on with intent and showed showing no ill-effects from the back injury that ruined his 2015 campaign.

The 31-year-old Mackay product managed just one game last season before before going under the knife, stalling his career for 12 months.

He returned for the final month of last season but was restricted to NSW Cup with the Sea Eagles coaching staff mindful of not exposing his still healing body to the rigours of the NRL.

The late bloomer was a surprise hit at Manly after his low-key acquisition from the Gold Coast in 2013 and their starting prop in the grand final that year.

In 2014 he was touted as a future Queensland player and now shapes as a key member of the Sea Eagles squad who are seeking to rebuild under new coach Trent Barrett.

“He’s a proud man and a very passionate man,” Barrett said.

“I know how hard he’s had to work and the improvement he’s made, not through the doing of the coaching staff, but the work he’s done with his own body.”

“He was really good at the Nines and two weeks ago we could see that his body is starting to come good.

“He looks strong and he’s only going to get better and better with the more games he plays and the more training he can do.”

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