TRIBUTES PAID TO BUDERUS

Many of the greats of the NRL have been playing tribute to hooker Danny Buderus after injury ended his time in Australia this weekend before he heads to the Rhinos.

Many of the greats of the NRL have been playing tribute to hooker Danny Buderus after injury ended his time in Australia this weekend before he heads to the Rhinos. Buderus will have an operation on a bicep injury but will be ready for the start of the next season and a new chapter in his glittering career with the Rhinos. Fellow former Newcastle Knights player and now media pundit Matthew Johns wrote a glowing tribute in the Courier Mail to the New South Wales skipper that will whet the appetite of all Rhinos fans ahead of next season. DANNY Buderus is the most respected player in the NRL. Ask any player or coach. At Newcastle his status is only matched by Paul Harragon and Andrew Johns. These three icons of the club have many things in common. Their style of play, rugged and all action, no thoughts of self- preservation. They’ve walked grand final victory laps. They’ve represented at every level, and captained club, state and country. And like Johns and Harragon, when Danny Buderus farewells EnergyAustralia Stadium next Saturday night he will sadly complete his lap of honour in a suit, not his red and blue armour. Rugby league is like boxing, in that it is cruel in the way it rarely gives its greatest warriors the farewell they deserve. Buderus’ ferocious competitive instincts were always going to put pressure on the perfect fairytale ending to his NRL career, but the injury and how it occurred was certainly out of the blue. During the second half of the game against the Cowboys on Saturday night, Buderus’ teammate, Chris Bailey, called for a long pass. Danny duly delivered and felt an ever-so-slight twinge at the base of his bicep. Danny didn’t give it a second thought. Moments later he felt the tug again when attempting a tackle and then finally, with a simple pass to one of his ball runners, felt a full blown twang and looked down to see his bicep ruptured and recoil into a tight ball. In the sheds after the match Buderus was believed to be in a state of shock and removed himself from the other players to hide his devastation. Danny’s farewell match next week was going to be one of the most emotional in Knights history. It would have seen him go head to head against his greatest rival, the Storm’s Cameron Smith. But to be honest, even a man-of-the-match performance next week could not have added any more to his stature at the Knights. Andrew Johns’ legend was forged on the back of his superior skill, vision and confidence. For Harragon it was size, power and passion that gave him special standing. Danny Buderus will be remembered as the club’s greatest competitor. A player who was capable of pushing his body to limits which allowed him to achieve amazing things. I’ve seen Buderus play tired and play injured, but never once did that reduce his effort. And the tougher the contest the more he could be relied upon. The game’s greatest player, Andrew Johns, described Buderus as "the greatest player I’ve ever played alongside". Ricky Stuart told me that "Buderus changed the way that dummy halves play the game. Ben Elias brought flair to the position, Steve Walters brought precision passing and power, but Buderus made people view hookers as they do halfbacks". One of the game’s great hookers, Royce Simmons, once told me after an Origin match that "Danny Buderus is my hero". Craig Bellamy described him as "a man of great contrasts. Off the field a perfect gentleman, but on the field one of the most ruthless competitors I’ve ever been involved with". When the late Allan McMahon took over the very first Knights team, he laid down a very simple motto for his men to follow, "Prove yourself to be the player that others want to play alongside". Every player in the game would want to play alongside Danny Buderus.