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Friend ready to end Buderus' NRL fairytale

Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend is out to bring an end to the John Farnham-like farewell tour of former Australia and NSW State of Origin captain Danny Buderus once and for all in Saturday night's NRL preliminary final.
Friend ready to end Buderus' NRL fairytale
by AAP

By Rob Forsaith

SYDNEY, Sept 25 AAP - Sydney Roosters hooker Jake Friend is out to bring an end to the John Farnham-like farewell tour of former Australia and NSW State of Origin captain Danny Buderus once and for all in Saturday night's NRL preliminary final.

Nobody has played more games for Newcastle than Buderus, so it's no surprise the 35-year-old has been the town and club's feel-good story during their run to the penultimate week of the season.

The league's oldest player first said his final goodbye to the Knights in 2008 when he signed up with UK Super League side Leeds for what was intended to be the final chapter of a distinguished career.

Instead he returned to the NRL last year at the request of supercoach Wayne Bennett.

He announced this season would be his last but, having gotten the better of Canterbury's Michael Ennis and Melbourne's Cameron Smith in successive finals clashes, the Knights' campaign just keeps on going.

"He thinks it's a bit of a gee up at the moment. We just keep saying `come on Beds, one more week, one more week," teammate Matt Hilder said.

"The boys really want to do really well for him, because he's such a good fellow and he's done so much for the club. To send him out on a good note would be great."

Friend will be the latest No.9 villain in the Knights' fairytale run from seventh place when he locks horns with a former idol at Allianz Stadium on the weekend.

"Definitely (he is someone I looked up to). He's one of the best hookers that has played rugby league I think," Friend said.

"He showed that the other night, he was really good against the Storm. I'm looking forward to the battle."

Friend said he was not surprised Buderus was still going strong at age 35, and that he still posed threats in every aspect of the game.

"Nearly everything I suppose," Friend said of Buderus' strengths.

"He knows the game really well and his pressure out of dummy-half and his vision has been unreal.

"He'll be one of their go-to men I'm sure. We'll be doing everything we can to stop him."

The Roosters are short-priced favourites to advance to next Sunday's grand final, but Friend insisted they would not be taking the Knights lightly.

"They were impressive (against Melbourne) and it's going to be a tough game," he said.




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