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Wests Tigers legends out in force in 2021 staff

More than a few familiar faces will be around the traps at Wests Tigers in 2021 with a number of legends returning the club.

Life Members Chris Lawrence and Robbie Farah have both commenced roles within the club — joining 2005 Premiership heroes Pat Richards and John Skandalis as well as Simon Dwyer and Shannon Gallant — as members of the Wests Tigers staff.

Having announced his retirement from the NRL in 2020, Lawrence has commenced a part-time role within the club's Wellbeing and Education space (alongside two-time Premiership-winner Joe Galuvao) while Farah has begun an on-field role that will see him work as a coaching consultant throughout the season.

The pair's inclusion as part of the Wests Tigers staff continues a rich history of former greats remaining part of the club with the likes of Dene Halatau, Liam Fulton, Mark O'Neill, Brett Hodgson and Paul Whatuira all previously holding roles.

Former Western Suburbs and Balmain players such as Shane Millard, Paul Sironen, Ronnie Palmer, Mick Liubinskas and Danny Stapleton are also currently involved.

Ronnie Palmer, Goat.
Ronnie Palmer, Goat. ©Wests Tigers

The club's equal all-time leading try-scorer, Lawrence said retaining former greats of the club once they finish up their playing careers.

"I think it really shows how good the club has been in that space," he said.

"For people who have played here, it shows that they want to stay here and that they think there's good people around the place.

 
 
 
 
 
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"No matter what happens year-to-year, people want to stay and be part of the club.

"Once you're a Wests Tigers player then you're part of the club and its community and I think that's shown by all the ex-players who are involved with helping the younger players come through," he added. "It's a great pathway for the players who are here to see those older guys around and shows that no matter how many games you've played for the club, you're always a part of Wests Tigers for good.

"The generation that's coming through now — all they know is Wests Tigers. It's about us continuing to build our own history around them."

Extremely experienced in the wellbeing and community space throughout his professional career — having run his athlete empowerment and education business One Wellbeing for many years — Lawrence said he was looking forward to doing important work in his off-field role with Wests Tigers.

"For me, it's a really fitting role because of what I'm doing outside of football," he said.

"Creating programs and helping athletes find their passion away from sport is a passion of mine but, having been here for 15 years, I also have a real passion for Wests Tigers and particularly this young playing group.

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"I was pretty keen to stay on board and help in anyway possible and, for me, the best way I can do that is by helping these younger guys and trying to help them find the passion and their identity away from sport.

"Rugby league is definitely a rollercoaster," he said, "but if you can find your passion and stay with it away from the game then I feel like it really helps you on the field.

"I can help guide those young players to do that and help prolong their career.

"That feeling can be very satisfying."