Lillyman excited for special milestone
After seven years and 149 games at the Warriors New Zealand has very much become Jacob Lillyman's home.
In fact if he hadn't represented Queensland in 11 State of Origin matches you could almost call him an adopted Kiwi.
But he doesn't want that, and don't even think about trying to get him to adapt to the local slang either.
"No, I haven’t quite come that far, maybe [I'd call a corner shop] the 'dairy' now, but I can't bring myself to say the word 'jandals'. They are always going to be thongs to me," Lillyman joked mid-week.
This Sunday against the Roosters at Central Coast Stadium he will become the 11th player to reach 150 NRL Telstra Premiership games for the Warriors.
It is a milestone the 32-year-old prop is clearly proud to reach, and he is even more excited to do it as a Queenslander.
Lillyman will also become just the second Australian, after Micheal Luck, to reach the 150 club at the Warriors.
Since joining the Auckland side in 2009 "Bull" has been a mainstay of the propping group, and in a testament to his durability the Richmond Tigers junior has appeared in 87 of the club's 92 matches since midway through the 2012 campaign.
"It's a funny one because earlier in my career I was injured quite a lot. I guess it is all down to maturing, I don’t think your body fully matures until about mid-20s to handle the week in, week out grind of the NRL," Lillyman said.
"Being professional and looking after your body always helps and doing all the right things, and I have tried to do that I guess.
"It's been a great experience [at the Warriors], I have had some good years and some lean years, and hopefully there's some more good years to come.
"I think when I first came over it was a two or three-year deal, I guess you don't look too far ahead but I probably didn’t expect to stay, I probably expected to go back to Aus.
"But I have stayed here for all that time…I haven’t got a bad word to say about the place, I have really enjoyed it."
Ahead of Lillyman's special milestone coach Andrew McFadden praised him for not just his on-field ability, but his presence around the club.
"He is not only a terrific player but he is a great clubman," McFadden said.
"He has a real sense of humour and in a tough environment players like Jake are really handy to have around.
"Obviously 150 games for one club is a big achievement; it's going to give us some extra motivation this weekend."