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Chester backs Lawler to step up at hooker

Chester backs Lawler to step up at hooker

Thursday 11 Feb 2016 5:10pm

Head coach Chris Chester has backed youngster George Lawler to fill the void at hooker after being deprived of his two senior players at dummy half.

With former England star Shaun Lunt and French international John Boudebza set to miss the next few weeks of action due to injury and suspension respectively, Chester looks set to turn to Lawler once again.

The club’s Under-19s Player of the Year last season was handed the starting role in the hooking position in Sunday’s draw against Castleford and Chester will keep faith with the talented forward against Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

“I think he’s got the passing game to play at hooker and the attitude defensively to defend in the middle. It’s a tough old place to defend but he does a lot of good things off the ball,” Chester said.

“He looked very comfortable against Castleford and he’s a fantastic young talent. Defensively, he’s very solid and he’s one of the fittest guys at the club, if not the fittest.

“He wants to play lots of minutes and he came off disappointed after 25 minutes on Sunday looking like he’d only played two or three minutes.

“He’ll certainly need to play for longer this week that’s for sure. We’re a bit limited on who can play there but we’ve got some options.”

After revealing he opted to start Lawler ahead of recognised hooker Boudebza last weekend due to the youngster’s defensive steel, Chester also felt Lawler epitomised his side’s attitude against the Tigers.

Pleased with an improved performance in defence following pre-season defeats to Hull FC and Huddersfield, Chester is eager to see his side build on a much better display against a Warrington side which beat reigning champions Leeds in round one.

“The main thing last week was that we stuck to our structures and we didn’t try to solve problems ourselves as has been the case in recent weeks,” Chester added.

“This is another step up though against a very good Warrington side that have brought some very good players into the club. They’re difficult to beat over there but we ran them close last year so we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“Their strength is the middle, the likes of Ashton Sims and Chris Hill, and it’s people like Daryl Clark running off them. They’ve got some aggressive blokes like Benny Westwood and they’ve got Joe Westerman now who likes to play with the ball so they’re well balanced.

“The pack is their strength but we haven’t got a bad pack either.”

However, after two weeks of training focusing on defence, Chester is also expecting improvement in attack from his squad this weekend.

“I was a bit disappointed last week as we created some chances, particularly in the first half, which we should have capitalised on.

“We came up with some poor options and we missed some opportunities out the back and our last tackle plays let us down a bit.

“I’m not too worried about the amount of points we score though, it’s about how many we concede. We’ve done a lot of work since the two friendlies on our defensive game but we’ve worked really hard over the last couple of days on our offense and hopefully we’ll be a bit sharper with the ball on Sunday.

“We’ve come up with some different plans and structures on how we think we can break Warrington down. They’re very strong defensively but we think we’ve got a few things up our sleeve that we might be able to surprise them with this weekend.”

Source: hullkr.co.uk