Lillyman says it's the mind that matters

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 17/08/2014
Jacob Lillyman
Getty
FITTING REWARD: Warriors forward Jacob Lillyman has been named in the Australian train-on squad for the Four Nations.

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A team's mental toughness can be what separates them from playoff contenders and outsiders, says Warrior Jacob Lillyman.

With just four games left in the regular season of the NRL, the Warriors will need to keep focussed.

Lillyman is a seasoned veteran when it comes to the tough end of the season. He has played in the NRL since 2003, first with the Cowboys and now with the Warriors.

He said the Warriors had put themselves in a good position which made things easier.

"You are through the tough middle part of the year which can be a bit of a grind. Now we have put ourselves in a pretty good position and we know that if we string a few wins together and win most or all of our games we will be in a fantastic position going into the finals.

"Whilst you need to be aware of that we can't afford to look any further than the next game. You know what's at stake."

Lillyman said there could be jitters knowing how much there is to lose.

"There probably are a few nerves in the games you are expected to win because if you lose you are thinking about how it is going to affect the rest of the year and how you are going to end up on the ladder. You are aware of that."

Coach Andrew McFadden has made a number of changes to his starting lineup for today's Knights game and admitted the mental side of the equation was important in the run home to the playoffs.

"It is a tough year but most of these guys are pretty battle-hardened now."

Forward Sebastine Ikahihifo, who has been a regular starter, will come off the bench this weekend after an off-colour performance against the Sharks.

"He has been terrific for us but you could just see some things in his game on the weekend that weren't where they had been. A freshen-up will be good for him."

Lillyman said he felt disappointed with his form leading into the Sharks game and so put in a big performance, making 29 tackles and more than 150m in run metres.

He was looking to build on that for the remaining four games.

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