Kangaroos prop David Klemmer in action against the Kiwis.

Teammates to enemies for Klemmer

From national teammates to state enemies – it's a common theme for members of the Australian Kangaroos to go from being best mates one minute to plotting each other's demise the next heading in next week's State of Origin series opener at Suncorp Stadium.

Eight Kangaroos players from Queensland are set to take on seven teammates from New South Wales after representing Australia just over a fortnight ago, in an indication the State of Origin arena is headed towards another close battle.

Australian internationals Trent Merrin and Valentine Holmes were the only two players overlooked for selection after representing their country under coach Mal Meninga in Canberra on May 5.

NSW prop David Klemmer admitted he took advantage of mixing with some of Queensland's elite earlier in the month and made notes as he gets set to prepare for the first clash against the Maroons.

"It was good to get into [Australian] camp and see the boys again and be around those calibre of players again, it certainly gets you in the mood for rep footy," Klemmer told NRL.com.

"Playing in [Cameron] Smith's 50th Test match was awesome and with JT (Johnathan Thurston) again was incredible. 

"I still feed off them and am still young, learning off them and why they've been so successful playing at that high level for so long.

"You definitely take a leaf out of their book and take it into your own personal environment and improve as a footballer.

"You can see how they've been so successful being in camps and some of them will turn out to be greats of the game."

 


The 23-year-old has again been named on the bench in Laurie Daley's NSW line-up, a position he feels comfortable in despite playing a starting role at club football with the Bulldogs.

After making his State of Origin debut in 2015 – a year after the Blues ended Queensland's eight-year dominance – the Bulldogs enforcer is still chasing Origin glory.

"I really want to have a big series and I haven't won one yet so that's on the bucket list – to do well for the state and beat Queensland," he said.

"Last season really hurt the way we lost the series but we fought well in the third game and will take a lot into the first one up there.

"Playing at Suncorp is unreal and history shows how important the first game is if you want to go on and win the series, so it will be huge."

Bulldogs fans will get another look into the future with Klemmer playing alongside future recruit Aaron Woods in the NSW side next Wednesday.

The pair created headlines earlier in the season when both Klemmer and Woods were photographed in Sydney when speculation was ripe the Wests Tigers skipper had signed with the Belmore outfit next season.

"There was a bit of a drama but we're good mates and I've always said to him that he needed to make the best decision for himself and family," Klemmer said.

"He just got married so it was a big contract for him but I would have always backed him whether he stayed at the Tigers or wherever he went.

"He's been busting his butt for them and wants to play semi-final football in the end.

"It's a big move for him and I'm very happy he's coming over here to the Bulldogs."