An experienced campaigner with 275 NRL games to his credit, former Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman will bring his talents to the Sharks in 2021 after signing a one-year contract with the Cronulla club.
Tolman began his NRL career at the Melbourne Storm in 2008, before switching to the Bulldogs ahead of the 2011 season, where he would play 222 games over 10 years at Canterbury in becoming one of their most consistent performers over the past decade.
With his tenure at the Bulldogs coming to an end, the father of three who is a local Sutherland Shire resident, jumped at the chance to join the Sharks and is confident he can add plenty of experience to the Cronulla pack in 2021.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity. The Sharks have come along, offered a contract and I’m over the moon,” Tolman said
“To live local, come to a strong club that has played finals for a number of years, I’m really happy to be here and to be on board.
“Obviously, I want to be in the team, but I’ve got to earn my position. The Club lost of lot of experience over the past few years and I’m looking forward to adding to that and I can’t wait for the pre-season,” he added.
When Tolman became available at the end of the 2020 season, with the experience and leadership he brings a definite attraction, Sharks coach John Morris saw him as the perfect addition to his team next year.
“I’m excited to have him join us for next season,” Morris said. “He’s a proven winner given his record at the Storm and Bulldogs, his experience will be invaluable, and his character is of the highest calibre.
“He’s durable and has the rare ability to play big minutes. Aiden definitely adds much needed depth to our forwards, especially considering some of the injuries we have and the players we will be missing early in the season.”
In confirming Morris’s view that Tolman, who was the Bulldogs fourth-highest polling player on the Dally M points list in 2020, still had what it takes to compete at the NRL level, as recently as round 19 the middle forward played 71 minutes in his teams’ win over Souths, running for 232 metres on 24 carries, 101 of those metres post-contact, while also making 46 tackles.
“We certainly took notice of that performance from Aiden and given that he’s still only 31 years of age we have no doubt he has plenty to offer,” Morris added.
A hard-working and resilient middle forward capable of playing big minutes when required, Tolman evolved into the mainstay of the Bulldogs pack, playing in the 2012 and 2014 Grand Finals and consecutive Finals series from 2012 to 2016.
In August of 2015 Tolman was also named in the Bulldogs Team of the Decade during their 80th anniversary celebrations.
When asked about his teammates contribution over his career at the Bulldogs Josh Jackson, Tolman’s Club Captain last year, was full of praise.
“He’s definitely the toughest and most selfless player I’ve ever played alongside,” Jackson said. “What he does for the team week in week out and what he puts his body through, it’s unbelievable.
“He’s certainly very underrated. You know what you’re going to get from Tols. He doesn’t shirk the tough stuff, he’s always in the picture when the other team makes a break, he’s always around the ball and that’s the selflessness he plays with. He’s all for the team.”
Originally from Kempsey in northern NSW, Tolman also played four consecutive years for NSW Country Origin from 2011 to 2014.
Tolman will join the Sharks for pre-season training commencing next week.
Sharks TV caught up with Tolman as he put pen to paper on his new contract with the club.