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Lawrence wants to play on after putting horrific facial injury behind

If the surgeons said the word Chris Lawrence would have called time on his career but now he is back to his best, the Tigers veteran wants to play on next season.

Lawrence has already defied the odds by returning to the field this season after suffering horrific facial injuries which required seven plates to repair almost a dozen separate fractures as a result of a nasty collision with teammate Ben Matulino during the pre-season.

His impact off the bench in the eight games he has played since the return has played a pivotal part in the Tigers clinging onto their place in the top eight.

Now, the off-contract veteran has one eye on his playing future as the Tigers prepare to try to reel off three straight wins for the first time this season against the Bulldogs on Saturday evening.

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"Obviously I have to have a conversation here with the club over the next few weeks," Lawrence said.

"About a month or so back my focus was just on getting back and playing footy after my injury.

Chris Lawrence in his hospital bed in New Zealand.

Chris Lawrence in his hospital bed in New Zealand.

"Now that I’m doing that and I’m in the week-to-week cycle, it’s obviously time to start having that conversation. I will do that in due course."

If the Tigers don't offer Lawrence a satisfactory contract for 2020, the 235-game forward will reluctantly look elsewhere.

"I don’t want to go anywhere but obviously I have a young family and if I still have that desire to keep playing and the opportunity isn’t to stay here, I may have to look elsewhere," Lawrence said.

"Unfortunately that may be footy but we will cross that bridge when it comes.

"I suppose I have to just look at each opportunity as it comes. You probably don’t look too far ahead when you’re at the stage I’m at in my career."

Lawrence is understood to be keen to play for at least one more year and that's a situation he did not envisage while nursing the nasty facial injuries in New Zealand.

The 30-year-old didn't quite realise the severity of the injuries until his wife, Kathryn, flew over to be by his side in hospital.

When Lawrence saw her reaction, he promised to draw the curtains on his career if the surgeons told him to do so.

"I just said to her straight away if any stage the surgeons advised me against playing again, I wouldn’t play," Lawrence said.

"That was a promise I made to her and then I had to wait and see what the surgeon said.

"I was fortunate enough that none of the surgeons said they wouldn’t advise me playing but that was an eye opener knowing if I did get advice not to play, the decision would have been taken out of my hands.

"Knowing that can happen at any stage with injury, I am just getting on with my career.

"I [know] I'm in the back end, I'm just grateful to get back and play and I will try to take each day as it comes."

Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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