On the verge of breaking Andrew Johns’ Newcastle appearance record, hooker Danny Buderus has revealed the moment he feared he would never play again.
The former NSW Origin and Test captain will make his 250th appearance against Cronulla at Remondis Stadium on Saturday night – surpassing rugby league Immortal Johns’ mark in the red and blue.
But having undergone two bouts of back surgery at the start of the year, Buderus doubted his potential to ever lace on the boots again, let alone reach 250 games.
The games record was an obvious incentive during his rehabilitation, as was a determination to go out on his own terms.
“I didn’t think I’d play again at times,” Buderus said.
“The back takes a lot of confidence out of you.
“At the start of this year when they asked me to play on again I (thought) that would be a great achievement to play 250.
“Joey was 249, to play 250 let alone break the record, is a good achievement.
“That was a goal of mine, but two serious back ops at the start of the year, I thought I’d never get here.”
Buderus also admitted he’d never considered the possibility of coming back to the Knights when he left the club after the 2008 season to take up what was going to be a two year swansong with Super League club Leeds.
Five years later he is back where it all began, on the brink of becoming the most-capped Knight.
Barring another setback, he will get to exit the game on his terms, with Newcastle still in the running to feature in the finals.
“If I didn’t finish the way I wanted to, I probably would have thought I was a bit of a failure,” Buderus said.
“I wanted to come back and finish on my own terms and I’ve got five games to do that.
“I’m glad I’ve strung a few together the last four or five weeks, it’s not finished yet.
“To come back and say goodbye to the fans again in a few more weeks would be great.”