Guerra welcomes Lillyman signing

Incoming Newcastle recruit Aidan Guerra has welcomed the signing of former Maroons teammate Jacob Lillyman at the Knights next season.

The pair have played together for Queensland on eight occasions and the signing of Lillyman has given the Newcastle side their seventh recruit for 2018.

Despite averaging his best numbers in over three years on the paddock, the Warriors had their eyes set on luring Broncos enforcer Adam Blair to the club.

A seasoned veteran, Lillyman notched up his 250th game in the NRL Telstra Premiership in August but after nine years at the Warriors, was told he was free to look elsewhere at season's end.

"Jacob will be a good acquisition. You look at the last decade he's been playing and has probably been doing the same thing every game," Guerra told NRL.com.

"He's consistently a good prop and that's why 'Browny' (Knights coach Nathan Brown) would have brought him in, to contribute on the field but also off the field where he can help the young guys get their preparation right."

Lillyman is the first recruit Newcastle have purchased from outside a top four club in 2017 – with Brown's intentions clear he's only after players coming from successful sides.

Newcastle chased Dragons-bound James Graham as the ideal candidate for an experienced forward, and also entered negotiations for the signature of Blair late in the season, but neither came to fruition.

While the Knights have been caught before buying players heavily towards the backend of their careers, Guerra was adamant age isn't a barrier for the 33-year-old prop.

"I've played against him heaps and can't recall a time where our coaching staff at the Roosters or an individual player would think he's someone to target just because of his age," Guerra said.

"I wouldn't say he talks a lot but he's a smart man when it comes to his football and when he talks people listen.

"You have to with a player like that, he's been around so long. He's certainly going to add to the dynamic of the side."

Meanwhile, Guerra has knocked back an opportunity to play for Italy in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup to focus on transitioning with his young family from Sydney to Newcastle.

The 29-year-old admitted his form suffered around his demotion in the Queensland side but returned following the announcement he was joining the Knights in 2018.

"You don't really think at the time but once you've got security it's one thing you don't have to worry about," Guerra said.

"Once I made the decision to go to the Knights, I just felt like it was time to come in and enjoy everyday I've got left and my footy was a reflection of that.

"It was sad telling the boys but since then everything has been positive."

This article first appeared on NRL.com.