THE Australian Rugby League Commission has cleared Knights hooker Danny Buderus to play against Penrith at Hunter Stadium on Monday night.
Country Rugby League chairman Jock Colley said that he had asked commission chairman John Grant to stand Buderus down for one NRL game as punishment for withdrawing from the annual representative game at Mudgee on Sunday, which City won 24-22.
Buderus and Knights coach Wayne Bennett made it clear before the team were selected that the veteran dummy half did not want to play and that a week off would be of more benefit to him.
Country coach Laurie Daley and selectors named Buderus anyway.
But he did not front at the medical check on Monday of last week, because he was holidaying in Adelaide with his family. Citing Achilles tendonitis, which he has suffered in both legs since 2007, the 34-year-old spoke to Daley, and with the support of the Knights’ medical staff he was allowed to withdraw.
Melbourne’s Ryan Hinchcliffe replaced him.
Before the advent of a stand-alone representative weekend, those not exempt from playing representative football who withdrew from a rep team without being ruled out by that team’s medical staff were not allowed to back up for their club team that same weekend.
It was unclear whether Colley had lodged a formal complaint in writing, but commission chief executive David Gallop said last night that Buderus had done nothing wrong and was free to play for the Knights.
‘‘Danny is a senior player in our game and once the coach [Daley] spoke to him and accepted that he was injured, and the team physio spoke with both Danny and the staff treating him at Newcastle and accepted that he was injured, then the issue was over in our view,’’ he said.
Gallop said decisions about standing down players were ultimately his responsibility.
Blues coach Ricky Stuart has told incumbent Michael Ennis and City Origin captain Robbie Farah that Buderus is ahead of them in the race for the NSW No.9 jersey for the first game of the Origin series in Melbourne on May 23.
Buderus did not run with the Knights at training yesterday. He and captain Kurt Gidley, who is due to return against Penrith from knee surgery, trained with other injured players in the rehab group.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley, a friend and long-time former Newcastle, NSW and Australian teammate of Buderus’s, applauded the commission’s decision.
‘‘Danny is one of the most respected players in the game,’’ he said.
‘‘His commitment to representative football is reflected in his outstanding career statistics and relationships he holds with all in those representative circles.
‘‘We are pleased with the ARLC position in this regard.’’
Colley could not be contacted for comment last night after Gallop had made his decision.
He had spoken to Grant at Mudgee on Sunday and planned to speak to him again this week.
Colley told the Herald last Friday that he had no personal problem with Buderus and was only trying to maintain the integrity of the City-Country game.