The prospect of two games in the space of 48 hours may not bother him but it makes this more than a big week for Vodafone Warriors veteran Jacob Lillyman. More like huge.
All going well he’ll turn out for his club for the 179th time tonight after barely enough time to catch his breath following Wednesday night’s breath-taking 2017 State of Origin opener in Brisbane.
The 33-year-old Lillyman’s 14th Origin appearance finished with his Queensland side slumping to a 4-28 loss to New South Wales. He had entered the fray at the 23-minute mark, by which time this had already become one of the Origin classics; the pace was relentless in a half which would feature just one incomplete set.
Lillyman filled an interchange stint either side of the halftime break, playing a total of 30 minutes. He made 78 metres from nine carries plus 18 tackles with just one miss (starting prop Nate Myles ended with 63 metres from eight runs, starting second rower Matt Gillett 69 from six and interchange forward Sam Thaiday 47 from seven).
By yesterday Lillyman was reunited with his Vodafone Warriors team-mates in Sydney ahead of tonight’s 13th-round NRL encounter with Parramatta at ANZ Stadium.
He was named in jersey #18 on Tuesday, Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney waiting to find out how ‘Bull’ felt before making a decision about his involvement tonight.
The Brisbane match last weekend was the first he has missed this season and then only because he was unavailable due to his Origin selection.
Lillyman has stepped up his output this season. In his 11 appearances so far, he has been averaging almost 49 minutes, 15 carries, 140 metres and 25 tackles.
In 22 matches last year he was on the field an average 48 minutes but his average runs were 12 a match and his metres gained 106 with his tackles up a little at 27 a game.