The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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2004 Dally M Medal winner, Danny Buderus capped a dramatic return to rugby league today when he was named captain for the Knights match against Premiers, Canterbury this Sunday at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
Buderus played his first game of the season last Sunday after recovering from surgery to his foot, elbow and shoulder.
The Knights will be without regular skipper Andrew Johns and Daniel Abraham for the Bulldogs game after both sustained serious injuries against the Warriors.
Also unavailable from last week?s team are fullback Dustin Cooper, who sustained a groin injury, and backrower Todd Lowrie (bruised kidney) who was in his first NRL game back after recovering from a quadriceps injury.
The new team sees veteran Mark Hughes make his return to the top grade at fullback ? the position he held in the NSW State of Origin squad in 2001.
Daniel Tolar comes into the starting pack, allowing Kirk Reynoldson to move back to the lock position to replace the injured Abraham.
Speaking today, Buderus said he was confident the team would grow as a result of the adversity they were currently facing.
?Rugby League is a tough game and no-one is more aware of that than the Newcastle Knights,? he said.
?People break bones and get injured playing at this level and when that happens, you just need to dust yourself off, get back up and rip in again.?
?You won?t hear any whinging from our club about a bad run of luck. The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work, and that?s exactly what we are going to apply ourselves to.?
?I?m hoping that our fans stick by us while we go about doing that.?
?I think everybody who watched the game on the weekend caught a glimpse of what we are capable of.?
?We have some more players coming back in the next few weeks and we will win games of football, and our job will be made easier if we have the type of support that we had last week.?
?I?d ask our supporters to remember that this town?s football team is taking on the NRL premiers on Sunday on our home track and we will need the entire town?s support to get over the line.?
?EnergyAustralia Stadium is now a great place to watch football. The team?s job is to put together a performance worthy of those who come to watch.?
?I?m very confident we will do just that.?
Coach: Michael Hagan
Mark Hughes Bradley Tighe Matthew Gidley George Carmont Trent Salkeld Kurt Gidley Steven Witt Craig Smith Danny Buderus (c) Daniel Tolar Steve Simpson Reegan Tanner Kirk Reynoldson Interchange:
Matthew Kennedy Adam Woolnough Luke Quigley Blake Mueller