ONCE a Knight, always a Knight.
For every player that’s played here at this great club, they all feel the same.
There is a special bond you share when you play for the Knights, and that’s why you always see so many of our former players turn up on Old Boys’ Day.
They’re so appreciative of the crowd and their support, and that’s what they always talk about.
The best thing about playing for the Newcastle Knights is no matter whether you’re winning or losing, as long as you’re having a dig, the crowd will turn up and support their boys.
That’s what I’ve always appreciated.
They’re never fickle, and it’s never been about the winning or losing so much, but it’s been about the performance and whether or not you’ve put in.
The club was built on that blue-collar work ethic and making sure that every team that came here knew they’d been in a game, and I think that’s all this crowd has wanted out of this team, and to know that you’re representing them and you’re representing this region.
You are playing for more than yourself at the Knights.
You’ve got to play for something and you’ve got to be part of the team, and to be part of the team you’ve got to be part of the town.
They’re the most important things about playing for the Knights.
There are so many great memories I will take into retirement, and most of those revolve around the experience of playing alongside so many great team-mates in front of our loyal fans.
I’ll never forget our game against Cronulla a month ago when I was fortunate enough to break the record for most games for the club and reach that 250-game milestone.
The way the boys dug in and found a way to win was fantastic, then to come home a week later for the presentation before the Melbourne game, and the big crowd that turned up, was just as special.
The crowd have really supported me coming back from England at the end of 2011.
I never came back just to play these games and get to 250. That was definitely one of the goals in mind, and earlier in the year after two back operations, I never thought I’d get there this year.
But the main reason I came back was just to help out and do what I could to be a part of something special again, and to try to emulate what we went through as a team and town in our premiership-winning years of 2001 and 1997.
I know how much the town gets into it when you make it all the way to the grand final, and I’d love to see another group of men go through that and experience what we went through in those years.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout my career. I was lucky enough to achieve so much, and am looking forward to the next challenge, whatever that might be.
Until then, when the full-time siren sounds after our game against Parramatta tomorrow, hopefully I can walk off Hunter Stadium knowing that while it might be my last game on that ground and in front of those fans, it won’t be my last game for the Knights.
Hopefully we might have a few more left in us before I hang up the boots for good.
- Danny Buderus