If it wasn't for a mix-up, Danny Buderus would've been a Dragon.

That's right. One of Newcastle's finest ever talents would've worn the big red V instead of the mighty red and blue.

It was 1994 and a 16-year-old Buderus had secured a trial at Jubilee Oval.

He was a standout performer that afternoon but he never received an offer.


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The irony is, he should've but the scouts mixed him up with another teenager.

That's right. They signed the wrong player.

"I had a lot of family in Kograh," Buderus told the Our Town Our Team podcast.

"I was a bit of a St George fan. I went to an open trial down there and Joel Caine (former St George, Balmain and Wests Tigers back) tells the story now, that he was the one who got selected and I didn't make the team, so I came to Newcastle the next week.


"Going back to St George and a couple of months after the trial, Peter O'Sullivan was the coach and dragged him (Caine) in and said 'what's going on with your form? Why can't you do this' and showed him the trial form.

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"Joel said; 'that's going to be hard to do because that's not me, that's that Buderus kid'.

"The next week I went to Newcastle and played from 8.30 in the morning until six at night. A huge day of footy and my career at Newcastle kicked off from there."

A product of Taree, shortly after being scouted he moved to Newcastle to complete school.


It was 1995 and Buderus was in his final year of High School. He knew his studies would suffer but he was committed to making it in the NRL.

After boarding with a family in Belmont, Buderus moved in with livewire utility Owen Craigie who made his NRL debut at the age of 17.

Buderus would have to wait 18 months to join Craigie in first grade, securing a 10-minute stint in 1997 against the South Queensland Crushers.

"I lived with Owen for two years after we finished school and all of a sudden you're playing a bit of grade," Buderus recalled.

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"I was watching Owen, who is still the most talented player I've ever seen, especially at that age. I watched him grow up and play first grade at 17-18. I was thinking the whole time 'how good would that be?' Everything after 97, every waking hour, I just wanted to relive that."

Buderus didn't play in the 1997 grand final but went on to claim a premiership in 2001.


It was a game nib Newcastle Knights supporters will never forget.

Buderus remembers it well but he recalls the success of 97 with fond memories too.

He was in the crowd.

"I was sitting with a bunch of Novocastrians and mates," he said.


"All I remember is beers went up in the air and I took off straight to the sheds.

"I just ran. I had all this energy and excitement. I had to get amongst it. I got the bus home. I hung out and soaked it all up. I appreciated getting to experience the celebrations. I just wanted to relive it and luckily enough in 2001 we got to do it."

The No.9 finished his NRL career with a title and 257 games for the Knights, the most in the Club's history.

After hanging up the boots in 2013, Buderus was inducted into the Knights' Hall of Fame.

This weekend the eight Hall of Fame members will be honoured on Old Boys Day.


"Old Boys Day, the reason why everyone plays well is because they want the approval of everyone that's gone before them," he said.

"That's the highly important thing on Old Boys Day.

"You get judged. These guys deserve the right to judge.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't come down to the points, it comes down to the effort ratios and what characteristics they display. That's one thing we've always tried to drive at the back end of the season and Old Boys Day."