HIS Newcastle Knights teammates call him "Trouble", which is surely ironic given that week in, week out, he gets the job done with a minimum of fuss.
"It's like how they call a redhead Bluey," Hilder said of the nickname he has carried since his days in Cronulla's junior teams.
Knights coach Rick Stone offered an alternative explanation.
"I think he probably got it at a young age at the Sharks," Stone said with a smirk.
"If he has a couple of beers, he can find himself being a little bit disruptive, put it that way.
"But he is generally pretty harmless."
On the field, Hilder is certainly more trouble-shooter than trouble-maker, establishing himself as an unsung hero, defensive workhorse and versatile linchpin in Stone's pack.
Since arriving from the Gold Coast in 2008, he has made more tackles than any Newcastle player and needs just seven more against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium on Sunday to rack up his 2000th defensive hit for the club in his 57th game. Eighty of those tackles have come in his past two outings, which have yielded wins against Hilder's former clubs, Gold Coast and Cronulla.
It appears no coincidence that the Knights have tightened up around the rucks, conceding 16 points against the Titans and 10 against Cronulla, in conjunction with Hilder's first two 80-minute efforts of the season.
And as his 138 attacking metres and support-play try against the Sharks showed, he is no slouch with ball in hand.
Stone said that while skipper Kurt Gidley had received rave reviews for his form in Newcastle's three straight wins, Hilder's efforts were rated just as highly by his peers.
The coach said the 28-year-old needed time this season "to build up his capacity to play 80 minutes" but had relished the extra workload since switching to starting hooker after an injury to Isaac De Gois.
A straight shooter who was candid enough to label Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis "a bit of a grub" earlier in the season, Hilder had no complaints about starting seven games this year from the interchange bench.
"I didn't really earn the right to be left on there for 80 minutes," he admitted.
If Hilder's input was not up to the standards he sets himself, it should be noted that he has played most of the season under duress. A broken bone in his wrist and a shoulder injury have routinely required painkilling injections just so he can take the field, yet he has missed only one game.
"He's probably had needles before all but a couple of games, but you don't even know he's getting them," Stone said.
"He just gets his job done and nurses himself a little bit during the week.
"He's had a shoulder, he had a broken bone in his hand or wrist and he's got a decent cork after last week. But he doesn't make too much fuss about it."
Stone said Hilder was appreciated by his teammates even if his name never featured in representative discussions.
"I'm not quite sure about the whole rep scene," Stone said.
"I just think there are some blokes there, and probably Alan Tongue is a good example, they're really, really valuable to their clubs. They probably deserve to play rep footy, but whether they do or not is up to the selectors and the other players available at the time.
"But how valuable Alan Tongue is to the Raiders is like Matt Hilder is to us."
A veteran of 156 top-grade games, Hilder indicated he was unlikely to lose any sleep over his status as a quiet achiever.
Married to A-grade netballer Natalie, with young daughters Indy (four) and Eden (two) and another child on the way, the former apprentice plumber is more than happy with his lot in life.
"I think it [a low profile] is a fair advantage for me," he said.
"I can just go about my business without too many distractions. It's the way I've always played my footy. No carry-on."
A Cronulla Caringbah junior who made his NRL debut with the Sharks in 2003, Hilder did not take long to make himself at home in Newcastle after playing 19 games for Gold Coast Titans in their inaugural season.
"He's the type of bloke who saw his house at Speers Point on the internet, flew down from the Gold Coast to have a look at it, bought it that day and flew back," Stone said.
Like Paul Marquet, Billy Peden and Marc Glanville before him, Hilder epitomises the "be the bloke everyone wants to play with" creed of Newcastle's foundation years.
"He's the type of person or player that Newcastle people affiliate with, since way back to the 1988 era," Stone said.
"He's just no-nonsense, goes about his work without a lot of fanfare, and is just a real valuable member of the team . . . he's a well-respected bloke around the place. His humility is probably another key feature of his character. Nothing's a problem."