Newcastle forward Jacob Lillyman will call time on his 16-year NRL career at season’s end, after confirming the news to the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday.
Lillyman is in his first season with the Knights after spending the last nine years in New Zealand with the Warriors, following the first six years of his career playing for the Cowboys.
“I’ve had a really good run but it’s probably time to ride off into the sunset,” Lillyman told thehearld.com.au.
“This year has probably been a bit tough mentally. It’s always tough physically.
“I’ve had my fair share of niggling injuries and just the week in, week out grind of playing – all that sort of adds up for a bloke my age.
“She’s a tough old comp and tackling monsters every weekend, it takes a bit of a toll so that’s where I am at.
“I don’t have any regrets though. I’ve had a bloody good career.
“But I obviously want to finish on the best possible note here in Newy so that’s the focus now.
“Just playing my role for the rest of the year and helping the boys as much as I can will be the aim.”
Lillyman has played 260 NRL games to date, and has represented the Maroons on 14 occasions between 2006 and 2017.
The 34-year-old veteran has been a big help with the younger players at Newcastle according to coach Nathan Brown, who told the Newcastle Herald he’s one of the most consistent performers going around.
“We knew what we were getting with Ox and the good thing about him is you know what he is going to provide each weekend.” Brown said.
“There is not a big gap between his performance levels from week to week.
“It’s why Cameron Smith wanted him in his Queensland Origin side for all those years because he is just so reliable.
“But from our point of view, we wanted his influence around the boys off the field as well with his professionalism, the way he prepares for games, his work ethic in the gym, and the fact that he is just a real good bloke to have around the group.”