Lillyman brings experience to Knights

06 October 2017 15:53:34 GMTPlus11

Queensland State of Origin forward Jacob Lillyman has moved to the Newcastle Knights on a one-year deal.

Lillyman has spent the past eight seasons with New Zealand Warriors, playing 189 games for the Auckland-based club.

The Knights have signed him for the 2018 NRL campaign to lend his experience to a side that finished with the wooden spoon last season.

The 33-year-old, who has played 14 Origin games for the Maroons, said the Knights were a good young team on the up and he was looking forward to getting stuck in at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Lillyman made his NRL debut for the Cowboys, against Newcastle, in 2003 and represented North Queensland 62 times before switching to the Warriors in 2009.

He said: "I think the Knights have got some great young players, especially in the forwards, and I am keen to help them in their development. Newcastle is a very proud rugby league region and town and I can't wait to experience that first hand."

Knights general manager football Darren Mooney said of the new signing: "Jacob has plenty of experience and he will not only be a great contributor, but will provide wonderful leadership for our young squad."

Lillyman will start pre-season training with the club next month.

The Knights expect both Luke Yates and Brock Lamb, who missed the final two games of the season, to be ready for the pre-season return.

Yates needed ankle surgery for a syndesmosis problem, and physical performance manager Tony Ayoub believes he will be able to start running early next month.

Lamb is in rehab after suffering a grade two medial ligament tear which put him in a brace for almost a month.

Daniel Saifiti, who suffered a shoulder injury late in the season, won't be back in full training until after Christmas. He needed a shoulder reconstruction, which Ayoub reported the surgery had gone well.

Newcastle are 50/1 to win the NRL Grand Final, while the Knights are 11/4 to finish in the top eight.

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