The NRL organisation will host another edition of the popular Voice for Mining Family Day at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 4 April, with the crowd encouraged to don hi-vis apparel to support the coal industry.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS), also a Hunter icon, is central to the celebrations, too, with a chopper conducting a fly-over of the ground.
The match day game ball will be delivered by Aircrew Officer Nathan Langham, who has been with the WRHS for 17 years.
After making 257 appearances for the Knights in a stellar career, Buderus admitted he was looking forward to this weekend’s extravaganza.
“Some of our bigger moments over the past few years have come wearing the hi-vis jersey,” he said.
“So many good performances individually, but as a team as well.
“I remember Jamie Buhrer kicking into the corner for Shaun Kenny-Dowell to score in the last couple of seconds to beat the [Wests] Tigers at Tamworth.
“That was a huge occasion.
“There are a lot of memories connected to the Voice for Mining Family Day.
“I think the biggest thing for the players and staff is when you’re putting on that vi-vis jumper, you’re going to work.
“You’re also representing a community that’s resilient and hard-working, it’s blue collar.
“I’d like to think that’s what the Knights stand for.”
Buderus, who took the field for the NSW Blues on 21 occasions and Australia in the Test arena 24 times, said the club boasted a number of stars who worked in the mines, including current prop Josh King, Billy Peden and Voice for Mining Family Day Ambassador Kurt Gidley, to name a few.
“The relationship is huge between both partners,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“Moving forward, I’m sure it’s going to be a lot stronger, especially the amount of opportunities work-wise post-career.
“Not everyone gets to play 300 NRL matches like Mitchell Pearce.
“In fact, I think he’s just one of 42 to do so in the history of the code.
“Realistically, a lot of guys these days don’t play many games.
“You give your life to try to be that first grade footy player.
“And, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
“So, employment opportunities – when you hang up your boots – in the mines isn’t a bad choice.”
The Knights suffered a slight hiccup in round three when the Tigers prevailed 24-20, while Sunday’s rivals, St George-Illawarra Dragons, are flying high after two wins on the trot.
Buderus knows the showdown will be another tough fight.
“Playing the Dragons [up here] is always a hard task; they’ve got a really good record in Newcastle,” he said.
“They are also coming off back-to-back victories.
“As for us, it was a stumble against the Tigers last week.
“We had a huge debrief on Monday, dusted off – and we’re now ready to bounce back.
“The guys made a lot of errors, about 19, at the end of the day.
“The week before, when we met the (New Zealand) Warriors, we tallied three or four mistakes.
“That’s a massive contrast.
“It’s an area the boys will have to fix up.
“And, I’m sure they’ll learn from it.”
Knights’ fans and mining families will also be able to buy tickets in the NRL club’s 50/50 raffle.
And, a special online auction is scheduled to take place with major prizes donated by the Newcastle Knights and NSW Minerals Council.
All proceeds will go to the WRHS.
Date: Sunday 4 April
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Gates open: 1.15pm:
NSW Cup: 1.30pm
Round four line-ups:
Newcastle Knights: 1. Tex Hoy, 2. Starford To’a, 3. Gehamat Shibasaki, 4. Enari Tuala, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Kurt Mann, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Jayden Brailey (c), 10. Daniel Saifiti (c), 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Connor Watson. Interchange: 14. Sauaso Sue, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Josh King, 17. Blake Green. Extended bench: 18. Brodie Jones, 19. Dom Young, 20. Simi Sasagi, 21. Pasami Saulo
St George-Illawarra Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty, 2. Cody Ramsey, 3. Brayden Wiliame, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Adam Clune, 8. Blake Lawrie, 9. Andrew McCullogh (c), 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Josh Kerr, 12. Tariq Sims, 13. Tyrell Fuimaono. Interchange: 14. Poasa Faamausili, 15. Trent Merrin, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Jackson Ford. Extended bench: 18. Kaide Ellis, 19. Jordan Pereira, 20. Max Feagai, 21. Eddie Blacker