DAVID Klemmer will follow in the footsteps of some of the Newcastle Knights' all-time greats when he represents NSW in the opening State of Origin clash with Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week.
Klemmer was named on Sunday night to make his 13th successive appearance for the Blues, and his first since joining the Knights from Canterbury at the end of last season.
He will be the first Newcastle prop to represent the Blues since Ben Cross played two Origins in 2008.
The other Knights to have played front row for NSW are club legends Mark Sargent, Paul Harragon, Tony Butterfield, Steve Simpson and Josh Perry.
After starting in all three games of last season's 2-1 series win against the Maroons, Klemmer appears to have taken his game to a new level since arriving in Newcastle.
The 25-year-old has made more runs (200) than any player in the NRL this season, the most post-contact metres (703), and gained more ground than any other forward (1937 metres), providing the inspirational yardage that has propelled Nathan Brown's team to five consecutive victories, including Friday's 38-12 hammering of defending premiers Sydney Roosters.
Yet despite his outstanding statistics, Klemmer believes he can still play better.
"The role that Browny has given me, and the team around us, all I have to worry about is making my runs and doing my tackles," he told the Newcastle Herald.
"That's what I try to do each week, but I'm never really satisfied. I want to keep improving and I never want to be happy with where I'm at."
NSW are chasing back-to-back titles for the first time since 2003-05.
"I'm always confident in the side they pick," Klemmer said.
"We'll have a lot of confidence from last year, but I'm a big believer in not hanging your hat on things.
"Queensland will obviously be a quality team, as they always are, and it's going to take a great team effort to beat them. They've always had great players, and whatever side they pick, they'll be hard to beat."
Klemmer was again outstanding in Newcastle's win against the Roosters, making 193 attacking metres and 34 tackles in his 62 minutes on the field.
"We went through a patch where we weren't completing our sets, giving the other side all the football," he said of Newcastle's five-game losing streak between rounds two and five.
"But we've turned that around the last five weeks, and that's all we can do."
Klemmer said there were "always bigger challenges ahead" for the Knights, who are fourth on the NRL points table after six wins and five losses.
"There was a lot of expectation on us, and maybe we had a bit of a mentality where we thought we just had to turn up and win," he said.
"But the NRL is a tough business, and we learned that early on. We're still learning that. You have to ride the lows and ride the highs as well.
"We haven't done anything yet as a footy side."
Queensland will name their team on Monday and Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga appears a certainty to be chosen as fullback.
The NSW team is: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Jack Wighton, 15. Payne Haas, 16. Cameron Murray, 17. Angus Crichton.