While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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Captain Danny Buderus wants to end his NSW career in a blaze of glory by leading the Blues to a series victory and claiming Brad Fittler's captaincy record in the process.
Buderus will lead the Blues into battle for the 13th time next Wednesday at ANZ Stadium, leaving him just one game shy of equalling Fittler's record of captaining NSW 14 times in 31 Origin appearances.
The Newcastle hooker can overtake Fittler if he leads NSW throughout the 2008 series and could picture no greater finale than winning the series at Sydney on July 2.
In his final season in Australia before joining the English Super League, Buderus has set himself just two goals - to help get Newcastle back on track and lead NSW to another series victory.
After an impressive start to 2008, Buderus feels the Knights are on the right path and now wants to get the Blues back on top after successive series losses to Queensland.
"That is the aim for myself, to captain a winning side in my final series," said Buderus.
"I sat down in the off-season and knew it was my last year and thought about what I wanted to achieve in my last year.
"To be part of the series and hopefully win it would be right up there and to get the Knights back on track was my other thing.
"We got the Knights back on track earlier in the year and can tick that box but to tick the other box is to win the Origin series."
Buderus has twice led the Blues to a series triumph, in 2004 and 2005, but failures in 2006 and 2007 took their toll on the 30-year-old and his position even came under threat from Tigers rake Robbie Farah.
But the Novocastrian, who has not missed an Origin game since his debut in 2002, has not only retained the No.9 jumper but is perhaps playing some of his best football in years after finally overcoming lingering leg injuries.
"I'm carrying no baggage," said Buderus.
"I'm looking forward to the game with no injury concerns.
"I'm just ready to have a crack and see what I can do out there and lead the team into this challenge.
"My games are spread out too for the next 10 and nine days each because we (Newcastle) have the bye after the first Origin game."
Buderus is confident in the side he will lead out next week and has called upon Sydneysiders to help NSW get the early advantage in the best-of-three series.
"It sets (the series) up the first game and it's been a couple of years since we've had two games at home," said Buderus.
"It would be good if we can get a good crowd to make it hostile like we will have up there."