KNIGHTS captain Danny Buderus has ruled out playing for NSW again, saying it was Robbie Farah’s ‘‘time to shine’’ on the State of Origin stage.
The 34-year-old former NSW and Australian skipper was Blues coach Ricky Stuart’s first-choice dummy half for this year’s series until a recurrence of Achilles tendonitis ruled him out of contention for the first game in Melbourne last Wednesday.
That opened the door for Farah, who was one of the Blues’ most creative and effective players in their 18-10 loss to Queensland, then he backed that up with a man-of-the-match performance in leading Wests Tigers to a 26-18 victory over the Cowboys at Campbelltown last Sunday.
Farah’s form, his own health and fitness, and his desire to help lead the Knights out of their slump had combined to convince Buderus his Origin career was behind him.
Buderus was disenchanted by Country Rugby League president Jock Colley’s negative reaction to his decision to decline Country Origin selection last month.
‘‘For me, May was a write-off with all the negative publicity that I copped and received for that City-Country,’’ Buderus said.
‘‘That was nothing that I ever planned, to be involved in a game like that. I came back here to be a Knight, and I’ve said that before.
‘‘It’s not my time. It’s for someone like a Robbie Farah, and he’s taken it with both hands. It’s his time to shine, and he’s playing really well.
‘‘He played a great game in State of Origin one, and he’ll be picked for two and three hopefully. At the end of the day, I just want to see NSW win, and I want to see the Knights win.
‘‘That’s all I’m after. Since I’ve come back, that’s all I wanted to do – be a Knight – and whether I get to play next year as well, I just want to play as many games as I can for this club and play at a consistent level and be in a great environment with a team going in the right direction.’’
Buderus said he had recovered from a head knock suffered in Newcastle’s 24-14 loss to the Titans at Hunter Stadium last Saturday and would be fit to lead the Knights against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
He said he was managing his Achilles condition, and he was over a dose of flu that laid him low for much of last week, but Newcastle’s miserable form and the response from their supporters had done little to lift his spirits.
‘‘It wasn’t a good week, really, having the flu and what not, and the Achilles, so it just topped the night off with a head knock and a loss,’’ Buderus said.
‘‘It wasn’t a good Sunday. You had a lot of thoughts going through your mind but you have to get rid of them and turn them into some positive ones, and roll in today pretty upbeat, because we’ve got another mammoth task on Sunday against Brisbane.
‘‘Just the belief and the confidence, that’s the big thing.
‘‘To have the fans murmur during the game – you could tell they just weren’t happy.
‘‘That’s the thing I really play for, and that’s what the boys play for, for the fans and for the area, and we just didn’t put on a good show.
‘‘There were a lot of negative thoughts and you do think those after games – you ride a bit of a roller-coaster – but you’ve got to turn them around, and the only people that can help us out are the people that were in that room last Saturday night after the game, and that’s the players.
‘‘The fans can’t help us out. It’s up to us as a group, to go out there and know what we can do, and at least play with a lot of passion.’’
Buderus said he would wait until later in the season to decide whether to play next year.
‘‘I want to see where I’m at with my head space. It’s a tough time – it’s a roller-coaster ride with the ups and downs of the competition – so I’ll look at it and see where I go from here,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m really keen to play but I know this is a tough time, and I want to be here to help the Knights out and do everything I can for the place.’’
Coach Wayne Bennett has included specialist hooker Chris Adams on the bench to provide back-up for Buderus against the Broncos, and off-contract prop Richie Fa’aoso has been recalled. They will replace utility Matt Hilder and Catalans-bound back-rower Zeb Taia.