League: Lillyman signs extension to end of 2014

Jacob Lillyman. Photo / Greg Bowker.
Jacob Lillyman. Photo / Greg Bowker.

The Warriors have put an accent on youth in 2012 but yesterday they secured one of their older players, Jacob Lillyman, through to the end of the 2014 NRL season.

The 28-year-old's contract extension comes less than two weeks after the 23-year-old Ben Matulino, who has been the Warriors' best forward this season, signed a new deal through to the end of 2015.

Together with senior props Sam Rapira and Russell Packer - now nearing 100 NRL games - plus the emerging Sione Lousi and Steve Rapira, the 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 in 2009 as a second rower, was converted into a front rower and his form last year earned him a State of Origin recall and he has now played six games for Queensland.

He was among the 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 refound his form again this season after making a belated start to the campaign - he had surgery on his right bicep after the club's opening trial against Gold Coast in February.

"I couldn't be happier knowing I have my future sorted out here until the end of 2014,'' Lillyman said. "It has been the best move of my career coming to the Warriors. I owe so many people here for the faith they've shown in me and for helping to make me a better player.''

He will play a crucial role off the bench against the Broncos in Brisbane tonight as the Warriors search for their third win on the trot and coach Brian McClennan said it was an easy decision to offer Lillyman an extension.

"It's brilliant having Jake on our books until the end of 2014,'' McClennan said. "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.''

- APNZ

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