Vodafone Warriors lock Lillyman in until 2014
Thursday 12 July 2012 8:47 PM
Experienced front rower Jacob Lillyman’s outstanding performances across the last two seasons have snared him a contract extension with the Vodafone Warriors to the end of the 2014 NRL season.
The 28-year-old six-game Queensland Origin forward was among the Vodafone Warriors’ best players throughout their charge to last year’s NRL grand final when he appeared in all but two of their 28 games.
And he has been back to his best again this season since making a belated start to the campaign following surgery after damaging his right bicep in the club’s opening trial against Gold Coast in February.
Lillyman was named the players’ player of the day for his display against Cronulla last month and was among the best players on the field again in last Saturday night’s 32-14 win against Gold Coast with game-high numbers for runs (21) and metres gained (183).
Lillyman, who joined the Vodafone Warriors in 2009, will now extend his career with the club to at least six seasons. After making 62 appearances for North Queensland from 2003-2008, he will lift his career total to 133 with his 71st game for the Vodafone Warriors when they face Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
“I couldn’t be happier knowing I have my future sorted out here until the end of 2014,” said Lillyman.
“It has been the best move of my career coming to the Vodafone Warriors. I owe so many people here for the faith they’ve shown in me and for helping to make me a better player.
“Moving into the front row has been great for me. It’s helped my career and it’s a role I really enjoy.”
Lillyman’s contract extension comes less than two weeks after the 23-year-old Ben Matulino signed a new deal through to the end of the 2015 season.
“It’s brilliant having Jake on our books until the end of 2014,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Brian McClennan.
“Bull gives us so much quality in the way we start our sets. He’s been great despite coming into the season late and we saw again last Saturday night against the Titans just how important his contribution is. You always ask for consistency and Jake gives it to us in bucket loads.”
With senior props Lillyman, Matulino, Sam Rapira and Russell Packer – now nearing 100 NRL games – plus the emerging Sione Lousi and Steve Rapira, the Vodafone Warriors have built a solid stable of propping resources. The rotation of Sam Rapira, Lillyman, Matulino and Packer was critical to the club’s charge to last year’s NRL grand final and, while Rapira’s appearances have been restricted by injuries, Matulino, Packer, Lillyman and Lousi have been a major strength for the side again this season with their work in the middle of the park.
Lillyman, who came to the club as a second rower, earned a State of Origin recall when he played two games for the victorious Queensland side last year.
He has also become one of the club’s student footballers, complementing his rugby league career by studying for a bachelor of health science.
Date of Birth: March 07, 1984
Birthplace: Richmond, Queensland
Junior Club: Richmond Tigers (Queensland)
Other Teams: North Queensland Cowboys, 2003-2008
Rep Honours: Six matches for Queensland 2006-2011
NRL Debut: North Queensland v Newcastle, Dairy Farmers Stadium, August 09, 2003 (Round 22)
Club Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Parramatta, Mount Smart Stadium, March 14, 2009 (Round 1)
Club Number: 146
NRL Career: 132 appearances, 2003-2012
North Queensland: 62 appearances, 2003-2008
Vodafone Warriors: 70 appearances, 2009-2012
NRL Points: 28 (7 tries)
North Queensland: 12 points (3 tries)
Vodafone Warriors: 16 points (4 tries)
Secondary School: Kirwan State High School (Queensland)