The first phone conversation Karl Lawton had minutes after his debut was horribly cut short yesterday with a shocking ankle injury was from his older brother Kayne who called from France.
His older sibling, who seven years earlier debuted for the Titans which puts him and Karl in the club’s history books as the first NRL Titans brothers, was watching the Titans-Raiders game from a pub in France.
Their parents Steve and Aleta were at Mt Smart Stadium to watch the match, and two hours earlier had presented Karl with his first Titans NRL jersey.
“Kayne called dad about 20 minutes after I came off and actually answered the phone,” said Karl who returned to the Gold Coast this afternoon with the team.
“He was pretty shaky and a bit emotional but I told him I was fine, and he was OK after that.
“He’s been travelling in France and found a pub to watch the game from. It was good to talk to him and let him know I was fine. He said he thought I was playing well and was proud of me.”
Lawton’s ankle was badly dislocated and he admits he was in shock at first when he saw it pointing at right angles to the rest of his leg. Teammates could not watch as he wringed in pain.
The leg has been confirmed as being fractured and Kayne is expected to have surgery tomorrow. He was fortunate to have his justifiably proud parents there to console him and he came to grips with the unfortunate injury.
It is remarkable that he would suffer such a similar injury to Nathan Davis, playing the same position of right centre, a week apart. The pair are also the same age, 20, born just 14 days apart. Davis had surgery on Tuesday and will not play again this season.
Lawton spoke to Davis last night and he was very supportive.
The utility player who handled the step up in class impressively against the Warriors, has accepted his fate philosophically.
“That’s football and I still feel fortunate that it happened playing NRL; I got my shot,” he said.
“And Kane and I made history by being the first brothers to play first grade for the Titans, so that’s something we’ll keep forever from the day.
“I just wanted to get in there and take the ball up from dummy half and my body was just twisted on that leg.
“I couldn’t believe it when I looked down and my foot was pointing the other way. I was in shock, and the pain was pretty bad too.
“But I was in good hands and everyone has been really supportive around me. I’m fine.”
PICTURE: Karl with parents Aleta and Steve after flying into Gold Coast airport with the team today.