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Go the Raiders... Phil Lawrence shows the Canberra Raiders team from 2002 in which his son was a member. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

For the first time in 25 years, the Canberra Raiders will be hoping to win the NRL final this weekend and in Timaru a local man will be cheering them on.

Phil Lawrence’s Timaru-born son, Jarred Lawrence, played for the Raiders from 2001 to 2006.

“I was very pleased when they made the final,” Phil Lawrence said.

The last time the Raiders tasted premiership glory was 25 years ago.

Their rivals in Sunday’s final, the Roosters, won last year.

“I think it’ll be pretty close,” Lawrence said.

Jarred spent five years in Timaru before shifting to Christchurch, where he played for the Halswell Hornets and was a Canterbury junior representative.

He had a short stint in England with the Doncaster Dragons before relocating to Mackay, Queensland, and turning out for the Proserpine Brahmans.

There, he was spotted by Mal Meninga, who recruited him to the Raiders.

He played for the club over six seasons from 2001 to 2006.

This included a handful of first-grade matches and captaining the reserve grade to a premiership in 2003, beating Penrith. He played in various positions in the forwards.

Jarred had two sons who were keen rugby league players, Phil said.

“He relates to Timaru as home and comes over over here quite a bit.”