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'Toughest I've played with': Tolman does it his way to 250

Underrated, consistent, toiler.

Canterbury skipper Josh Jackson has paid the ultimate tribute to milestone man Aiden Tolman, labelling him the "toughest player" he's ever played alongside ahead of his 250th NRL appearance against Cronulla on Sunday.

Tolman arrived at Belmore after a three-year stint with heavyweights Melbourne, a journey he could've quite easily had stayed on and lapped up success playing alongside some of the game's elite in Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.

Not many players leave the Storm setup and go on to play a further 200 games. 

But the Belmore faithful were calling out for the man they call "Tols" – a workhorse required in every side to help push for premiership glory.  

While the Bulldogs have lost enforcers David Klemmer and James Graham in recent seasons, Jackson offered the ultimate complement towards Tolman this week when he said the Canterbury prop was just as valuable. 

Bulldogs v Sharks - Round 15

Jackson smiled when reminiscing about the time he met Tolman over a decade ago when the blonde-haired and blue-eyed forward first turned up to training.

"There's no more deserving guy," Jackson said.

"He means a lot to us here at the club, he's very underrated in terms of the broader NRL but here he's such a selfless team man.

"He's certainly up there if not the toughest player that I've ever played with in terms of what he does for the team every week.

"He doesn't get many accolades for it but here he's always getting highlighted on video for little efforts he does.

"To play the way he has played for 250 games is unbelievable because he puts it all out there, plays big minutes and the best way to sum him up is whenever there's a break in play or a try scored Tols is always around the footy."

Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman.
Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman. ©NRL Photos

In typical fashion, Tolman played down the milestone when asked about it earlier in the week. He's more concerned about guiding the Bulldogs to their fourth win of the season.

When pushed further though, the 30-year-old took a quick moment to reflect.

"It probably hasn't set in," he said.

"It's a lot of hard work, consistency … when you play your first game you don't set out to play 250 but I suppose it comes down to hard work and the players and coaches backing me to be there for 10-11 years is a big achievement.

"It doesn't drag on, I love this game. I wouldn't change anything, I love what I do whilst the results haven't gone our way this year.

"I've just got to put this milestone to the side and try to get the boys back on track. We haven't been up to standard in the last couple of weeks and that's the mindset I'll take into the game."

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