Newcastle Knights fans have plenty to look forward to in 2019 after an impressive recruitment drive but according to True Blue Danny Buderus it’s emerging centre Jesse Ramien who could provide the most excitement for the home town crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Knights added David Klemmer to their roster this week to continue an impressive spending spree over the past two seasons that has seen Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga, Tim Glasby, Aidan Guerra, Connor Watson and Tautau Moga buy into the vision of coach Nathan Brown.
Buderus, a Knights legend who wore the No.9 jumper, coached Ramien in the pathways teams for NSW and predicted a big future for him in 2019 (Ramien was also named in Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler’s Emerging Blues team on Monday).
“Jesse Ramien has just scratched the surface,” Buderus told NSWRL.com.au
“He had a breakout year this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing the potency on that right edge, and playing around Kalyn (Ponga).
“It’s really exciting for Knights fans because he’s young and very aggressive in the way he plays so he’s in for a really good year.”
Buderus also said it was understandable for the club’s fans to have high expectations for the 2019 season after the impressive recruitment drive but added it was important for them to be patient.
“It’s been a pretty active off season and I think 60 per cent of our 30-man squad is a new roster,” Buderus said.
“That’s about as active as you want to get as well. You don’t want to be doing that too many times in your club’s history if it’s all going well because you don’t want to rebuild too many times.
“You’ve still got to come together as a group, there’s a lot of new players and a lot of new staff, so you need to come together to get the best out of it.
“It might not be as quick as results as everyone’s expecting, it might take a little time for the team to start clicking.
“I think fans have got every right to have an expectation around the club because of the calibre of player involved, but to be realistic when you put players together who haven’t played with each other before it does take time.”
Buderus added there was enough talent in the team now to challenge for a top eight spot in 2019, with a view to going even better with a top four finish in 2020. He predicted fans could be treated to some scintillating football from the team in attack next season once they find their mojo.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into being a top four team and a lot of hard work and that’s why this pre-season is huge,” Buderus said.
“We’ve come from a place that’s been a big struggle over the last three years but obviously there was a big improvement in 2018.
“The logical step is to make the eight and then I guess you could say 2020 is one of those years where you have a window to really compete.
“The players that have been brought to the club have a lot of good years ahead of them and have also signed long-term so it’s an opportunity as a fan to get really excited.”