Wests Tigers could be two weeks away from having an entire roster to pick from with Josh Reynolds and Chris Lawrence edging closer to returning from injury.
Reynolds hasn’t played since straining his right medial ligament in round seven, while Lawrence has yet to play this season due to a broken jaw.
However while Lawrence was initially pencilled in to come back in round 14, coach Michael Maguire revealed the veteran began contact work this week.
“He’s doing really well. It’d be really nice to get him back ASAP because of the person he is, but he might be 2-3 weeks,” Maguire said.
“He’s been training really well and been doing a bit of contact now.”
Reynolds’ return would renew competition with Benji Marshall for the five-eighth spot, while Lawrence could also face a battle for minutes in the second row.
Ryan Matterson has entrenched himself on one edge, while Chris McQueen has recently ousted youngster Luke Garner on the other flank.
Michael Chee Kam has also impressed in spot minutes off the bench.
However Lawrence’s experience could prove vital for a Tigers side currently in sixth spot and eyeing off their first finals appearance since 2011.
Maguire denied the medical staff would need to be conservative with Lawrence’s return given the horrific nature of his injury.
The 30-year-old was stuck in New Zealand for nearly a week after a sickening collision with teammate Ben Matulino during training in January.
He sustained fractures to his jaw, teeth, nose and eye socket, but has ramped up his comeback with the playing group this week.
“(On Monday) he ran into a few players and I think all the players stood back and watched it, and he said I want more. It’s a pretty good sign there,” Maguire said.
The return of both Reynolds and Lawrence would mean the Tigers join the Warriors as the healthiest teams in the league.