If the Vodafone Warriors are to rebound quickly from their grim loss to Melbourne on Anzac Day, they’ll need a strong contribution from their big men in the middle of the field led by the seasoned Jacob Lillyman.
The Queensland Origin forward now has the record for the most appearances by an Australian player for the Vodafone Warriors at 153 games and counting.
The 32-year-old, who’s in his eighth season with the Vodafone Warriors, has a well-established reputation for his consistent output and has been maintaining those standards more often than not this season.
He certainly delivered in the Vodafone Warriors’ most recent wins against the Sydney Roosters and Canterbury-Bankstown with 20 runs, 159 metres and 30 tackles in 57 minutes against the Roosters and 15 runs, 174 metres and 26 tackles in 43 minutes against the Bulldogs.
On a difficult night in Melbourne on Anzac Day, ‘Bull’ was typically solid again. Used off the bench, he was on the field 50 minutes in total, making 113 metres from 14 carries and also 36 tackles with just one miss.
Against the Dragons, Lillyman has been named to start and, with Ben Matulino not available this week, he knows he needs to set the tone and be at his best to give the Vodafone Warriors a chance of a rare win over their most challenging opponent in the NRL.
At some stage of the contest he’s set to mix it in the middle with former team-mates Russell Packer, Leeson Ah Mau and Siliva Havili as well as the likes of Mike Cooper and Jack de Belin.
The Dragons have won their last 11 matches against the Vodafone Warriors; Lillyman has been on the receiving end in nine of those consecutive defeats.