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There was no doubt Old Boy Matt Hilder worked hard on the footy field, but since hanging up the boots in 2014, his focus has been on establishing a plumbing business.

The preparation for life after football began well before his announcement to retire from the game.

“I had a few people who put their hand out and helped me out a little bit and give me a start while I was still playing and that sort of set me up for what I wanted to do when I finished,” said Hilder.

“I was working for a company that showed me the ropes and I was with them for a few years.

“As soon as I finished up with the Knights, I could walk straight into a job and start putting things in place for the future.”

Hilder, who joined the Newcastle Knights in 2008 and played 101 of his 201 NRL games at the Club, is building his own business after studying at Hunter TAFE.