From AFLQ - Credit Byron Parish
Magpie ace, Douglas Lawrence, claimed the Round 1 Rising Star nomination after a dominant display in defense on Saturday.
Lawrence held Morningside Centre Half Forward Ryan Johnson to just 2 goals while also providing some much needed grunt in the Magpies back six.
“It was a good contest, I’d played on him in a practice match and I think I got the better of him this time”, said Lawrence.
After a tough two point loss to the reigning premiers, the Magpies can already see a massive improvement and Lawrence believes this has come from the team’s new philosophy of defend first, then run.
“It’s been something I’ve really tried to work hard on (running), with some other blokes going down with injury”, said Lawrence.
“I had probably my best pre-season to date and I really worked hard on my running, decision making and skills.”
Lawrence’s improvement has also been noticed by his coach, Glenn Humphrey, who says his early success can be attributed to the hard work he put in over the break.
“He had a big pre-season and worked his arse off, he’s been training really well and has come into the season strong”, said Humphrey.
“He’s prepared to listen, learn and work hard for the team.
“The squad is working well together and Douglas is working hard in defense.
“He’s a big lump of a lad and I think he’ll have a really big year down in defense”.
What is more impressive about this young defender is how fresh he is to the game, just his third season since a long lay-off from football.
The former Kenmore Bears junior took some time off the game before deciding in 2013 that he’d push to play football again.
After a lot of hard work, he made his debut for the Magpies Seniors later that season against Wilston Grange as an 18 year-old.
Lawrence believes that his team can really push for finals success in 2015 saying that on their day the ‘Maggies’ can match it with anyone.
“We’re pretty optimistic that we can catch a few teams off guard and really push for the finals”, said Lawrence.
“We definitely want to make finals and there is no reason why we can’t go all the way”.
A professional beyond his years, Lawrence feels that there are some aspects of his game he’d like to improve before the end of the season.
“I just really want to stay consistent, and play well”, said Lawrence.
“If I can do that and beat my direct opponent, I think I’ll have a good year”.