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Frizell deserves Origin spot, says Knights Hall of Famer Buderus

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One of the greatest Knights in the club’s history believes current back-rower Tyson Frizell well and truly earned his recall to the NSW State of Origin team.

And, Newcastle legend Danny Buderus, who was inducted into the NSWRL The Star Hall of Fame at a glittering ceremony at The Star Event Centre in Pyrmont on Monday night (22 May), has backed the in-form forward to lead the way against Queensland in game one.

The two league powerhouses face-off in the series opener at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 31 May.

While many people were stunned by Frizell’s inclusion, the man known as “Bedsy” wasn’t surprised.

Knights
Tyson Frizell. Photo: Getty Images

“I was absolutely delighted Tyson received the call-up,” he said.

“He’s been a warrior for the Knights this year in the way he’s competing on everything.

“They’re the players you can see all the Newcastle boys want to play with.

“That goes for the NSW blokes as well.

“I know Tyson wasn’t there in 2022, but he’s played 14 Origins now and is an experienced member of this squad.

“You can witness every time he walks into the room, he’s well-respected in the NRL.

“So, he definitely deserves his spot.

“He’s been fantastic and the way we want to play him will suit his game.

“It was terrific to see a Greta/Maitland boy in Hudson Young being named, too.

“He’s another who won’t let us down.”

Newcastle Knights legend Danny Buderus and Craig Fitzgibbon at NSW training.
Newcastle Knights legend Danny Buderus and Craig Fitzgibbon at NSW training in 2021. Photo: Getty Images

Buderus, who represented the Blues on 21 occasions between 2002 and 2008, believes NSW is well-placed to reclaim the series in 2023.

“It’s a balanced squad,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I think we’ve got our bases covered… whether it’s an injury or concussion (HIA), all that sort of stuff.

“You need to take in every scenario these days.

“There’s been a lot of work put in by the selectors and Freddy (coach Brad Fittler), who’ve picked the team.

“But, I’m looking forward to being in camp [as an assistant] and starting the preparation for the match.

“Adelaide will be a unique experience in the Origin arena.”

Kalyn Ponga with Danny Buderus
Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga with Danny Buderus. Photo: Newcastle Knights

Even though Buderus was thrilled for Frizell, he admitted he felt for two Knights – Kalyn Ponga and Dane Gagai – who were subsequently dropped from the Queensland line-up.

Maroons mentor Billy Slater opted for Brisbane’s Reece Walsh and Dolphin Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow instead.

“Kalyn and Dane would be disappointed for sure,” he said.

“They’ve always performed strongly for Queensland.

“So, I was shocked they missed out.

“However, that’s Billy’s prerogative up there.

“We’ve got our own challenges down here to worry about.”

While not the type of guy to give himself a pat on the back, Buderus – who is Fittler’s right-hand man again in 2023 – was chuffed to be welcomed into the Hall of Fame fold alongside Michael Cronin, as well as Immortals Dally Messenger, Frank Burge and Dave Brown at the True Blues dinner.

The function pays homage to the players who have pulled on the sky blue jumper and celebrates both past and present representative teams.

“I’m blown away to be included into a group like that,” he said.

“It was a special night.”

The Taree-born hooker, who made his NRL debut at age 19 against the South Queensland Crusher at the formerly-named Marathon Stadium in 1997, donned the Knights jumper in 257 games, winning the 2001 premiership.

He was unchallenged as the Blues rake for seven consecutive series and also represented Australia in 24 Test matches.

  • NSW Blues squad: Josh Addo-Carr (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle Knights), Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos), Nicho Hynes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Apisai Koroisau (Wests Tigers), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Liam Martin (Penrith Panthers), Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Tevita Pangai Junior (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), James Tedesco (c – Sydney Roosters), Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Stefano Utoikamanu (Wests Tigers), Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers), Hudson Young (Canberra Raiders)

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