FOR the best part of a decade, they were arguably the greatest hooker-halfback combination their code had ever known.
Now Newcastle Knights legend Danny Buderus will join his Immortal teammate Andrew Johns in the rugby league Hall of Fame.
Buderus, 41, will be inducted along with fellow champions Craig Young, Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki during a gala ceremony on Wednesday, increasing the Hall of Fame members from 106 to 110.
Buderus achieved every honour the game had to offer during a first-grade career spanning from 1997 to 2013.
The Taree product represented Australian Schoolboys as a centre, and after debuting in Newcastle's top side as a bench utility, played in a variety of roles, including a couple of games as fullback.
But it was when injury forced former Test hooker Steve Walters to retire in 1999 that the man they called "Bedsy" really found his niche.
Within two years he had worn the green-and-gold, won a grand final and established himself as the world's premier hooker.
He proceeded to play in a club-record 257 games for Newcastle - as well 82 in Super League for Leeds Rhinos - and in 2004 was awarded the Dally M gold medal, as the best player in the NRL that season.
Along the way he appeared in 24 Tests, twice captaining his country, and in 21 consecutive State of Origins, including three straight series wins - the last two while skipper. His 15 Origins as captain remains a NSW record.
At the peak of his powers, he was regarded as arguably the greatest dummy-half of all-time. It was only when he declared himself unavailable for the 2006 Tri-Nations series, because his wife Kris was expecting their first child, that Cameron Smith was chosen for his Test debut.
Buderus and Smith were foes at club and state level for almost a decade, but beneath the rivalry was mutual respect.
As Smith said in 2013: "He was a guy that I always looked up to as a dummy-half and a guy that I spent a lot of time watching vision of, to try and improve my game. I tried to take his game apart, bit by bit, and looked at ways I could add that to my game to make me a better player. I guess in a way I can probably thank him for helping me become the player I am."
Smith said that as well as being a great competitor, Buderus was "a wonderful bloke" off the field, as well.
"Anyone you ever speak to who's played alongside Bedsy, they haven't got a bad word to say about him," he said. "He's been a champion ... it was privilege to play against one of the greatest dummy-halves who ever played our game and a guy that I shared a great rivalry with for a long time."
After retiring at the age of 35, Buderus spent time with the Knights as an assistant coach and was interim head coach for six games in 2014, after Rick Stone was sacked.
He has spent the past few years juggling the roles of NSW Origin assistant coach and commentator with Foxtel.
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