Photo by Charles Knight copyright © nrlphotos.com : Brenton Lawrence - NRL Rugby League, Round 23 Gold Coast Titans v Manly Sea Eagles at Cbus Stadium, Sunday August 17th 2014.

Coach Geoff Toovey remains cautious as to when prop Brenton Lawrence will make a return to the NRL playing field for the Sea Eagles.

Lawrence played his first match in almost six months last Saturday after undergoing major back surgery following the opening round loss to Parramatta Eels in March.

The hard working prop played almost 30 minutes in Manly Warringah's crushing win over Wests Tigers in the NSW Cup at Brookvale Oval.

Lawrence’s strong hit ups and leg speed has been sorely missed. He has been a standout for the Sea Eagles since arriving from the Gold Coast in 2013 and played in the 2013 grand final.

Toovey said the coaching staff was keeping a close watch on Lawrence.

“Last Saturday was a boost for himself and the club to see him on his way back,’’ Toovey said.

“He needs to be monitored. It was a fairly significant injury. I hate for him to progress backwards if something happened.

“We are taking a very cautious approach with Brenton. We are really confident that hopefully he will be back sooner (in first grade) rather than later. We are very pleased with his progress but there is still some way to go.”