Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett again called on Country rugby league selectors to not pick veteran hooker Danny Buderus for next week’s City Country Origin match – or risk losing him for good.
Buderus is strongly tipped to be named at No.9 for Country when the squads are announced on Sunday, but Bennett said the former NSW skipper does not want to play.
Bennett, the game’s most respected and successful coach, argued on Friday that, at age 34, Buderus would benefit more from having a week’s rest rather than churning through his normal workload of 40 tackles against City.
“Let’s look at a little bit of history here, I mean you (NSW) have got a lot of players in the past that don’t want to play for their state when they get to 30 year of age,” Bennett said after Newcastle’s 12-4 loss to St George Illawarra.
“And you’ve got one at 34 who’s doing in excess of 40 tackles a week. The week off’s going to do him a hell of a lot more good.
“…A 34-year-old surely to God doesn’t have to go and play a City-Country to prove what to who.
“And what’s the next step, does Danny say ‘I don’t want to play in that and then I’ll withdraw from representative football’, is that where you want to drive him to?
“What’s he got to prove to anybody? We all know what he can do.
“There’s a bit of respect needed … of what he’s done and who he is.
“And if he’s not good enough for Origin on his club form that’s great, that’s fine, he’s not begging anyone to be picked.”