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Newcastle sporting legends Buderus, Poolman headline Lunch with the Stars


Two of Newcastle’s legendary sporting identities will throw their support behind a local youth scholarship and mentoring program next month.

Newcastle Knights icon Danny Buderus and netball champion Sam Poolman are scheduled to headline Lunch with the Stars at Noah’s on the Beach on Friday 2 June, from 1pm to 3.30pm.

The duo will share stories of achieving their goals and dreams at the Home in Place-hosted business fundraising luncheon.

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

Buderus is the Knights’ most capped player, taking the field 257 times between 1997 and 2013.

He joined Newcastle as a teenager and represented the Australian Schoolboys while at St Francis Xavier Hamilton in 1995 and 1996.

The gifted hooker made his NRL debut during the Knights’ premiership year of 1997 and contributed to the club’s second title in 2001.

Buderus also represented Australia on 25 occasions, including four as skipper, and captained NSW a record 15 times, enjoying State of Origin series victories in 2004 and 2005.

Samantha holding an award
Sam Poolman was named Newcastle Young Citizen of the Year in 2021.

Poolman, meanwhile, is head of athlete development and foundation officer at Newcastle Grammar School, a regular Fox Sports’ netball commentator, a board member of Sport Integrity Australia and the founder and director of Aspire Netball.

She started as a junior at West Leagues Netball Club in Newcastle, making her first representative side aged 12.

Then, she went on to be in every NSW and national team for her age group in the pathways program.

During this time, she won five Australian Championships.

In 2011, at 20, Poolman won an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship and was also selected as an NSW Institute of Sport athlete for seven years.

Her elite debut came in 2013 as a member of the Trans-Tasman Netball League Premiership-winning Adelaide Thunderbirds.

In 2017, she was named to play for the inaugural GIANTS outfit in the Suncorp Super Netball League, making the grand final and securing the minor premiership in 2018.

Home in Place events and partnerships manager Michelle Faithfull.

Home in Place events and partnerships manager Michelle Faithfull said funds from the Buderus-Poolman function would allow the Hunter-based community housing provider to continue its Grow A Star initiative.

“We’ll be able to provide not only scholarships but mentoring assistance to social and affordable housing residents and other disadvantaged youth to overcome the financial obstacles that are preventing them realising their academic, sporting or artistic aspirations,” she explained.

“I’m sure Danny and Sam will inspire the audience.

“As well as the young, local scholarship recipients in attendance.

“Some of them, like Sienna and Krystal, will also join the sporting pair in a panel discussion on how to set and achieve goals and overcome obstacles.

“Danny and Sam know the importance of having dreams… and reaching for the stars.”

Some of the organisations and individuals who have supported Grow A Star, such as Mortgage Choice, Collective Heart, the McCosker family, Beyond Bank, Lush Wealth and AoN, will present scholarships to some of the latest intake of 35 recipients at the luncheon.

Last year’s edition, featuring Olympic gold medallist Steven Bradbury, raised $20,000.

When Home in Place established Grow A Star in 2012, it was a first of its kind program in the Australian community housing sector.

And, since then, it’s supported hundreds of young people.

Assistance is available to anyone between the ages of 10 and 18, engaged in education, training or employment who can demonstrate a need for aid.

People wishing to apply for scholarships or businesses, individuals and organisations seeking to support scholarships should visit

The 2023 event is being supported by Beyond Bank, Hall & Wilcox, PKF Newcastle, Broadley Signs and Noah’s on the Beach.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased at

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