Matt Hilder
Willing to take pay cut to stay

Unassuming Newcastle Knights utility forward Matt Hilder is willing to accept a second-tier deal to stay at the club next year.

Off contract at the end of the season, the 31-year-old workhorse is resigned to  taking a significant pay cut and slipping out of the club’s top 25 contracted players, but he wants to stay in Newcastle to raise his young family and prepare for a post-football career as a plumber.

Hilder has played just two NRL games this season and 10 last year, mostly due to a series of concussions from repeated head knocks that left him with fluid on the brain, blurred vision, headaches and amnesia.

Even when he has been fit, coach Wayne Bennett has preferred others at hooker or in the back row.

But Hilder said Bennett wants him to keep playing and be a mentor to the club’s younger players, and he was about to  enter formal negotiations with Knights recruitment and development manager Peter Mulholland.

Read more at the Newcastle Herald