A big milestone moment is beckoning for Jacob Lillyman as he tunes up to face the Canberra Raiders on Sunday.
For the 33-year-old Queenslander, this week’s outing lifts his NRL career tally to 249 appearances, his 187th for the Vodafone Warriors.
All going well he'll play his 250th against South Sydney next Friday night.
The popular ‘Bull’ is the record holder for most appearances for the club by an Australian player, well clear of long-time former team-mate Micheal Luck who finished up with 150 games for the Vodafone Warriors.
Nearing the end of his ninth season in Auckland since arriving in 2009, Lillyman continues to produce consistent front rower’s numbers and he’ll be needed for more of the same – and then some – against Canberra’s huge set of forwards.
It makes this contest a big one for him but also for his regular front row colleagues Ben Matulino and Sam Lisone. They all delivered strong numbers against Newcastle last week – Lillyman (54 minutes) with 144 metres from 16 runs plus 36 tackles, Matulino (57 minutes) 199 from 17 and 30 tackles and Lisone (46 minutes) 124 from 12 and 27 tackles.
Lillyman is averaging 126 metres and almost 26 tackles a game across the season while he has made just two errors all season. That compares to 106 metres and 27 tackles last season and 114 metres and 24 tackles in 2015.
Expect him to be as consistent as ever on Sunday.