The Sharks announce the signing of hooker/lock Matt McIlwrick for the 2016 season.
McIlwrick, who filled the hooking role for eight NRL games at the Roosters in 2015, will bolster the Sharks depth for the season ahead as he pushes for a place in the top squad.
A hooker equally comfortable at lock, McIlwrick possesses good speed and has a high work rate, with his new contract at the Sharks for one year with a one year option.
Coach Shane Flanagan was pleased to welcome McIlwrick to the Sharks and was looking forward to him competing with the likes of Michael Ennis and Fa’amanu Brown for a spot in the team and for game time in his NRL side.
“We need three hookers in our NRL squad,” Flanagan said. “I needed that insurance in case there is an injury. Matt came from the Roosters, played 7-8 games last year and he’s come from a really good system.
“He’s very professional and adds quality depth at our 9 position, and he can play 13 as well. He’s coming here to challenge the other two, so it will be a really good mix for us.”
The 24-year-old McIlwrick was appreciative of the chance provided to him by the Sharks and was keen to join the NRL group at training early next week.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity over the next couple of years,” McIlwrick said. “It’s a great team here going forward and being able to learn off Michael Ennis and a few of the other boys will be awesome.
“I’m here to learn as much as I can.”
Arriving at the Roosters after being brought to Australian shores by the Raiders, McIlwrick ran out for 19 games in the top grade in Canberra colours after previously enjoying three seasons in the clubs NYC team.
Prior to that he represented the Junior Kiwis in 2010 in the annual series against the Junior Kangaroos, with McIlwrick originally hailing from the Halswell Hornets, a club located in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Ironically McIlwrick’s NRL debut came in a match against the Sharks while playing for the Raiders back in Round 8 of the 2012 NRL season and his only try in the top grade was scored at Shark Park while also representing Canberra.
Today McIlwrick signed his new contract, was given a tour of facilities, met players and coaching staff and is now expected to be on deck first thing Monday morning for his first training session with the Sharks.
He spoke with Sharks TV, with McIlwrick’s interview now playing.
Born – 4/6/1991 – Christchurch, NZ
Junior Club – Halswell Hornets
Position – Hooker/lock
Height – 182cm
Weight – 95kgs
Rep Honours – Junior Kiwis 2010
Previous Clubs – Raiders, Roosters
NRL Debut – Raiders v Sharks, Canberra Stadium, Round 8, 2012
NRL Games Played – 27 (2012-2015)