Kangaroos prop David Klemmer has knocked back an offer to sit out Newcastle’s opening pre-season trial against St George Illawarra on Saturday week because he wants to pull on a Knights jumper for the first time and “get out there with the boys”.
Klemmer and ex-Melbourne Storm recruit Tim Glasby were both given the option of missing the Dragons trial at Kogarah’s Jubulee Oval in Sydney by coach Nathan Brown because of their heavy schedules at the back-end of last season.
Klemmer was involved in end-of-season Tests against New Zealand and Tonga while Glasby played right through the finals series and featured in the Storm’s grandfinal loss to the Sydney Roosters.
But both have told Brown they are keen to play in both trials for their new club.
“They could have sat the first one out and just got ready for the Sharks a week later but both said they are keen for a run,” Brown said.
“It means everyone bar the guys still in rehab will play some minutes against the Dragons which is good, given the number of new players we have.”
After a tough slog at pre-season training over the summer, Klemmer says he is ready for some action.
“I’ve been training for a couple of months now and getting flogged so I’ve put my hand up to play some game time and I’m looking forward to pulling the jersey on and getting out there with the boys,” he said.
“I just want to get out there and blow some cobwebs out. I’m sick of running and just want to start playing some footy. I’ll probably only be out there for 20 minutes or so and than i’ll be sweet.”
The marquee recruit, who was granted a controversial release from the Bulldogs to link with the Knights, said he and his family are thriving in the new environment,
“It’s been great – everything is new and I’ve said it before, it’s like starting first grade all over again for me,” he said.
“The kids were nervous at the start coming up here but it’s all good and the missus [wife Chloe] has really settled in and she’s really enjoying it up here.
“Footy-wise, I don’t think the guys realise what they’ve got here with the talent that’s here and just the feeling within the group – they are a great bunch of blokes and we are tracking pretty well.”
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Klemmer believes it’s still way too early for a judgment call on how long it will take for the new-look line-up to really gel and isn’t getting carried away with suggestions the Knights will boast one of the best forward packs in the competition.
“We’ve got some strength there for sure and there is plenty of competition for spots but we haven’t played together yet and we have to earn the right to be rated up there with the best packs going around,” he said.
“Hopefully, by the end of the season, we can talk that way but we’ve earned nothing yet.
“All the combinations will take a little bit of time but once we start playing together, it’s going to really come along.”