The 'puppy' who reached 300

The 'puppy' who reached 300

These days he's among the most assured players running around in rugby league, but Warriors coach Stephen Kearney recalls that wasn't always the case for Ryan Hoffman.

Ahead of the 33-year-old forward's 300th NRL Telstra Premiership match this Saturday night against the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Kearney took the opportunity mid-week to simultaneously poke fun and pay tribute to a man he has worked alongside as both a teammate and coach.

"I was very fortunate that when I was getting towards the back end of my playing career at Melbourne that Ryan joined the club then (in 2003) as a young guy," Kearney said.

"He was my little puppy dog, followed me around the gym and what have you, so I was sort of given that responsibility to look after him.

"Even then he had a real determination and a real drive to get the best out of himself and I think he has done a wonderful job to get to 300 games this weekend.

"It's a testament to the way he goes about his business. He is a true professional.

"He still looks in as good a condition as he did when he was a 19-year-old at Melbourne way back then."

Hoffman will become just the 27th player to reach 300 appearances, and the third to do it while at the Warriors, following on from Ruben Wiki and Steve Price.

It's likely he would have reached the record even sooner had it not been for a year spent in the Super League with Wigan in 2011.

Veteran lock Simon Mannering, the next closest Warrior to achieving the triple century of appearances (currently sitting on 269), said Hoffman was a player you could always rely on.  

"He just turns up week in, week out and does a job," Mannering said.

"That's the sort of player who reaches that milestone. This is a game of consistency, if you continually do your job you rack up those sort of numbers.

"I have only played alongside Ryan the last couple of seasons, but anyone who can bring up a milestone like that has obviously got a lot of toughness mentally and physically."

While Hoffman has been told his contract won't be renewed at the Warriors next year, if he continues to play in 2018 he will add to a career which already has an impressive record of success.

He played in the NRL finals in 10 of his 11 seasons at Melbourne, with 2010 when the club was stripped of their competition points for salary cap breaches being the only exception, while he won a Premiership with the Storm in 2012.

Current teammate Jacob Lillyman, who also spent numerous seasons coming up against Hoffman at club and State of Origin level, told NRL.com he is a player who is held in the highest regard around the competition, and one who always leaves his mark on a team.

"You look at the esteem he is held in at Melbourne by everyone there, that speaks volumes," Lillyman said.

"He is a great leader, a team man and he has added a lot of value to every team he has ever played in. He ticks all the boxes does 'Hoffy' and his record speaks for itself."

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg congratulated Hoffman on the milestone.

"Ryan has achieved an enormous amount over the course of his career," NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.

"He has represented NSW as well as Australia, while he has also captained his Club.

"He is an inspiring player and leader through his actions and the way he carries himself on and off the field.

"On behalf of all Rugby League fans I congratulate him on this achievement."

THE 300 CLUB (26 players)
 
App     Player                         Club/s                                                        Years
 
355      Darren Lockyer             Brisbane                                                   1995-2011
350      Terry Lamb                   Wests, Canterbury                                    1980-1996
349      Steve Menzies              Manly, Northern Eagles                            1993-2008
347      Corey Parker                Brisbane                                                   2001-2016
346      Cameron Smith           Melbourne                                               2002-2017
336      Brad Fittler                    Penrith, Sydney Roosters                         1989-2004
332      Cliff Lyons                     Norths, Manly                                           1985-1999
330      Nathan Hindmarsh        Parramatta                                               1998-2012
328      Andrew Ettingshausen  Cronulla                                                    1983-2000
325      Geoff Gerard                 Parramatta, Manly, Penrith                      1974-1989
318      Jason Croker                Canberra                                                  1991-2006
317      Hazem El Masri            Bulldogs                                                    1996-2009
315      Paul Langmack             Canterbury, Wests, Easts                         1983-1999
315      Luke Priddis                  C'berra, B'bane, P'rith, St George Ill        1997-2010
313      Steve Price                    Bulldogs, Warriors                                   1994-2009
313      Brent Kite                      St George Illawarra, Manly, Penrith          2002-2015
313      Cooper Cronk              Melbourne                                              2004-2017
312      Ruben Wiki                    Canberra, Warriors                                  1993-2008
309      Petero Civoniceva         Brisbane, Penrith                                     1998-2012
307      Brett Kimmorley            N’castle, H'ter, Mel, N Eag, C'lla, C’bury   1995-2010
306      Chris Heighington      Wests Tigers, Cronulla                          2003-2017
303      Anthony Watmough       Northern Eagles, Manly, Parramatta       2002-2015
302      Anthony Minichiello       Sydney Roosters                                      2000-2014
301      Luke Ricketson             Sydney Roosters                                      1991-2005
300      Scott Prince                  North Qld, B'bane, Wests Tig, G'd Coast  1998-2013
300      John Morris                  N'castle, P'matta, Wests Tigers, C'nulla    2001-2014