Newcastle Knights recruit Jacob Lillyman to attend opening pre-season training session

IN: Jacob Lillyman (top). Picture: AAP
IN: Jacob Lillyman (top). Picture: AAP

Jacob Lillyman will have his first day on the job as a Newcastle Knight when the NRL club officially starts pre-season training for 2018.

The 250-gamer joins his new red and blue squad for the opening session at Wests Mayfield on Wednesday after confirming a one-year deal in early October.

The former New Zealand Warriors and North Queensland Cowboys forward, who played 14 State of Origins for Queensland between 2006 and 2017, will be the Knights’ only recruit on show. 

Connor Watson (Sydney Roosters) will kick into gear from next week while the likes of Slade Griffin (Melbourne Storm), Kalyn Ponga (Cowboys) and Aidan Guerra (Roosters) have extended breaks after playing finals throughout September.      

Newcastle’s World Cup players like Danny Levi (New Zealand), Jacob Saifiti (Fiji), Herman Ese’ese (Samoa) and Chris Heighington (England) have yet to confirm starting dates with the international tournament only approaching round two. 

All four individuals retained their respective positions for this weekend in teams named on Tuesday.

Elsewhere and outgoing Knights back Peter Mata’utia has returned home to Australia and won’t play for Samoa against Tonga because of a quad injury. 

The Kangaroos omitted former Knights back Dane Gagai for their clash with France while Italy have lost Knights under-20 playmaker Jack Johns (fractured forearm) for their fixture against the US.    

Hunter product Jarred Anderson will make his international debut after being elevated to start in the second-row for Scotland against the Kiwis, Port Stephens-based James Elias missed out for Lebanon against England while Merewether’s Matt Shipway is keen to make it two tries from as many matches when the US meet Italy.

ROUND 2 FIXTURES

Friday, November 3: Australia v France at Canberra Stadium (8pm).

Saturday November 4: New Zealand v Scotland in Christchurch (5pm); Samoa v Tonga at Waikato Stadium (7.30pm); England v Lebanon at Sydney Football Stadium, (8pm).

Sunday, November 5: PNG v Ireland at Oil Search National Football Stadium (4pm); Italy v USA at Tonwsville Stadium (4pm); Fiji v Wales at Townsville Stadium (6.30pm).