Central Highlands NRL game development officer steps down

HOME BASED: Andrew Lawrence (right), pictured with RJ Stewart from the Central Highlands Men of League Foundation, is hanging up his hat as the NRL game development officer.
HOME BASED: Andrew Lawrence (right), pictured with RJ Stewart from the Central Highlands Men of League Foundation, is hanging up his hat as the NRL game development officer. Sam Woods

A HEALTH scare for Andrew Lawrence has prompted change.

The region's NRL game development officer is stepping down after seven-and-a-half years.

Lawrence said being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year had given him a whole different perspective.

"That led to the decision, instead of spending six months on the road and nights away from a young family," he said.

"It made me have a rethink of what's important."

Covering Bluff to Winton and Dysart to Blackall, it is usual for Lawrence to clock up 40,000km on the job in a year.

"The area I cover is nearly the size of Victoria," he said.

He said he now had the best of both worlds, planning to still be involved in the game at numerous levels, while having more time for his family.

With a two-year-old and another one due next month, the Lawrence family plans to stay around town with Lawrence working as a supply teacher.

While the diagnosis is clear, the importance of men getting checked could not be ignored.

"The amount of blokes I know since I was diagnosed who have been tested is a positive," Lawrence said.

Lawrence praised the work of volunteers and said the strength of the league rested with them.

"The amount of work volunteers do, I'm fortunate I've been paid for working in the game, but my hat goes off to the amount of hours that go in by volunteers," he said.

"Without them we wouldn't have a game.

"I thank them for their support."

Highlights of Lawrence's time in the role include helping to establish the Men of League committee, the Central Highlands Battle of the Mines, the Steven Bell and Josh Hannay under-10 schoolboy challenge, the Outback U14 and U16 sides out further west and seeing an increase in Level 2 coaches and sports trainers.

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