Seasoned campaigner Jacob Lillyman becomes just the 11th player to make 150 NRL appearances for the Vodafone Warriors when he fronts the Sydney Roosters in Sunday’s fifth-round encounter at Central Coast Stadium (2.00pm kick-off local; 4.00pm NZT).
It’s the second significant milestone in nine months for the 11-game Queensland Origin forward after making his 200th career appearance against Canberra last June.
With his partner Tui-kaye Cole and daughter Arani present, the 32-year-old was presented with a commemorative jersey by long-time team-mate Simon Mannering at a team lunch today.
Now in his 14th season since his NRL debut with North Queensland in 2003, Lillyman has underlined his durability and consistency time and again. Indeed, since midway through the 2012 campaign he has appeared in 87 of a possible 92 matches for the club.
On Sunday he’ll draw level with fellow Queenslander Micheal Luck as the only other Australian in the Vodafone Warriors’ 150 club; Luck played 150 times from 2006-2012 before retiring.
While Lillyman prepares for a special moment in his eighth season since joining the club in 2009, fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck faces one in his debut campaign when he comes up against his old Roosters side for the first time.
For the fourth straight game this season, Tuivasa-Sheck hit the 200-metre mark in yesterday’s 40-18 win over Newcastle, running 203 metres from 21 runs; he also put Solomone Kata in for his try and had a key hand in Tuimoala Lolohea’s second half touchdown.
“These are two big moments for Jake and Roger,” said Vodafone Warriors assistant coach Andrew Webster.
“Jake is hugely popular around the team and can always be counted on to perform at a consistently high level.
“Roger has been great for us since the start of the season and went better again against the Knights. His combinations are really developing and we’re seeing the benefits of what he provides for us.”
Webster said there was room for satisfaction over beating the Knights for the first win of the year but the quality of the overall performance wasn’t up to expectations.
“We felt we played a lot better when we lost to Brisbane and Melbourne in our previous two games,” he said.
“There are a lot of areas we need to improve in when we take on the Roosters. We were just too sloppy at times.”
The Vodafone Warriors have named the same side used against Newcastle yesterday.
Centre Kata and Albert Vete, who started at loose forward, came out of the match with leg knocks but Webster said there was confidence both would be able to play against the Roosters.
Simon Mannering has again been named to start in the second row with Vete at loose forward.
The Vodafone Warriors have won 18 of the 35 clashes against the Roosters while they’ve lost 16 with one draw. In 17 away games the record is 8-8 with one draw.
VODAFONE WARRIORS | 150 APPEARANCES
261 Stacey Jones (1995-2005 & 2009)
240 Simon Mannering (2005-2016)
213 Manu Vatuvei (2004-2016)
195 Logan Swann (1997-2003 & 2007-2008)
185 Lance Hohaia (2002-2011)
177 Ben Matulino (2008-2016)
170 Awen Guttenbeil (1996-2006)
169 Sam Rapira (2006-2015)
159 Wairangi Koopu (1999 & 2001-2008)
150 Micheal Luck (2006-2012)
150 Jacob Lillyman (2009-2016)
VODAFONE WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
2.00pm, Sunday, April 3
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK
2 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
3 BLAKE AYSHFORD
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 MANU VATUVEI
6 SHAUN JOHNSON
7 JEFF ROBSON
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 BEN MATULINO
11 SIMON MANNERING
12 RYAN HOFFMAN (c)
13 ALBERT VETE
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 SAM LISONE
16 CHARLIE GUBB
17 KONRAD HURRELL
HEAD COACH | ANDREW McFADDEN