Newcastle Knights prop Jacob Lillyman, who played 188 first-grade games for the Warriors from 2009-17, has announced he will retire at the end of 2018. Only five players have made more appearances for the Warriors than ‘Bull’, while his 10 Origin appearances for Queensland (from a career total of 14) while based in Auckland are a record for a Warriors player.
Via Newcastle Knights Media
Veteran forward Jacob Lillyman will call time on his NRL career at the end of the 2018 season.
At the age of 34, Lillyman is in his 16th season in first grade with his first year at the nib Newcastle Knights set to be his only season.
While his time at the Club has been short, his impact will be felt for years to come.
“I’ve had an incredible career. I have no regrets,” Lillyman said.
“I have some many fond memories from every Club I’ve had the pleasure to play for. I was fortunate to represent my state and make some incredible friendships along the way.
“I can’t thank my family enough for all their support. It’s been one incredible journey.”
ICYMI: Jacob Lillyman has officially announced he will retire at the end of the 2018 season.
Congrats on a stellar career, Ox 👏
— Newcastle Knights (@NRLKnights) August 7, 2018
Lillyman has enjoyed a storied career which began with North Queensland.
A product of Richmond, a small town in western Queensland, Lillyman played his way through the lower grades at the Cowboys before making his debut against the Knights in 2003 where he played three games in his rookie season.
The following year he was a regular member of the Cowboys team and would consistently feature for the Cowboys over the next four seasons.
It was during this time, in 2006, that he earned his first State of Origin jersey for Queensland.
“I came to the decision quite a while ago. The mind and the body reach appoint where going another year isn’t an option and it’s been a bit of a battle this year,” Lillyman said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for this great Club but at the end of the year, I’m riding off into the sunset.”
Moving to New Zealand Warriors in 2009, Lillyman found his best form in Auckland.
He spent nine seasons across the Tasman and maintained his position as a Maroon whether it was in the backrow or middle.
In his swansong season in the NRL, Lillyman joined the Knights, acting as a mentor to some of the Club’s most exciting young prospects.
“Not only is Ox a professional on the field, he’s a champion person off it,” Coach Nathan Brown said.
“He’s a consistent performer, so it’s no surprise he had such a long career in the Queensland jersey.
“The influence he’s had on our younger boys has been enormous.
“He’s brought some quality habits to the Club which will pay dividends in years to come.”
Date of birth: March 7, 1984
Junior club: Richmond Tigers
Previous clubs: North Queensland Cowboys, New Zealand Warriors
Games: 62 for Cowboys, 188 for Warriors, 15 for Knights *
Rep honours: 14 State of Origin games for Queensland