Aiden Tolman - The Unsung Hero
Ahead of the Blues team announcement, Aiden Tolman might not be on the radar of their selectors. Given his form throughout his 10-year career, this is somewhat surprising as the prop forward has yet to play for New South Wales at State of Origin level.
The 28-year-old has represented Country Origin three times, but has yet to be given a chance to play for his state.
The quiet achiever’s career began in 2008 at the Melbourne Storm, where he notched up 53 games before moving to the Bulldogs in 2011.
The Kempsey product has since racked up 152 NRL games for the blue and whites.
Tolman’s game is built on the little things. It is about the one percenters and the minor detail that the fan in the crowd or on the couch at home doesn’t see and this is his strength.
Origin is all about who will go the extra mile. Who will take the tough run. Who will put his body on the line. Who will continue to kick chase. Who will fill the space. This is Aiden Tolman and his stats don’t lie.
Since 2014, Tolman has played 103 matches, made 3581 tackles at an average of 35 per game, averaged 16 carries per game and played big minutes.
He may not be the flashy player or the one that comes up with the brilliant play, but his work ethic and selflessness doesn’t go unnoticed within the walls of the Bulldogs changing room.
"He's massive for us. I don't know what the perception from outside our dressing room is, but he's loved and admired by all of his teammates. He goes out there and does so many little things that when you add that to the work ethic that he has, the boys really appreciate playing alongside him,” said Skipper James Graham.
Tolman’s a leader. A member of the club’s leadership group and a player the players want to play with. He inspires the next generation and this was evident in the Bulldogs win over the Raiders in Round nine when the home side were down to 15 men and the prop put his hand up to play 80 minutes in the middle.
Who knows, maybe one day we will see the Smithtown Tigers junior wear the sky blue and if not, we know he will always be loved by those that play with him.