Discarded NSW Origin prop David Klemmer says winning a premiership with the Knights and not his own future representative aspirations will be his biggest motivator next season after his shock axing from the Blues squad for next month's series against Queensland.
Despite playing in 14 of the last 15 Origin games for NSW including last season's series decider won by the Blues, Klemmer failed to even win a place in Brad Fittler's 27-man train-on squad after the Knights were bundled out of premiership contention by South Sydney on Sunday.
It was a huge kick in the guts for the 26-year-old incumbent Kangaroos prop, who played all 21 games for the Knights this season and statistically, was one of the game's premier forwards.
But while shattered by his omission, Klemmer told the Newcastle Herald he could do nothing more than cop it on the chin and move on.
"Yeah, I'm extremely disappointed to miss out but I can't control what people think about me," he said.
"I've spoken to the club and Adzy [coach Adam O'Brien] since then and they were happy with my performances this year and they are the ones that matter. They are paying the bills.
"I don't know what else to say. You want to get picked for these games but like I said, the club is happy about what I produced for them so I'm happy they're happy. I can't control the other stuff. That's just how it is unfortunately."
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Asked if he saw his axing coming, the Knights pack leader said: "Not really. You hear bits and pieces so it was probably in the back of my mind a little bit but I never got told anything. No-one said anything to me before it was announced."
Blues coach Fittler reached out to Klemmer on Monday afternoon but didn't offer up a reason for his omission or give him any indication of whether he was still a chance of getting a late reprieve at any stage during the series.
"All he asked me was what happened at Newcastle this season. That was it," Klemmer said. "Like I said, if this is how it is, I can't do anymore."
While statistics aren't the be-all-and-end-all, Klemmer's consistency throughout the season suggests his form is every bit as good, if not better, than it has been in the past.
Over the past six seasons, he has played 19 Tests for Australia and has featured in the past five Origin series.
Statistically this season, he finished sixth overall in the competition for metres gained, he was number one for post-contact metres and second overall for off-loads.
"There's bigger things in life - I'll get away with the family and be able to spend more time with them now," he said. "Look, I'm happy for the boys that got selected. I'm stoked for D Saf [Knights teammate Daniel Saifiti], he really deserves it.
"There were a couple of injuries but he's had a good year and he's done well to get back in there and he'll do really well. They'll pick a good side and hopefully, they go really well."
Asked if he will use the snubbing as motivation next season, Klemmer said:
"The thing that's motivating me is to win a comp. That's the biggest thing I want to do in my footy career now - I want to win a comp for Newcastle."
"If I'm not in their [NSW] plans, that's fine. I'm going to really look after my body now and do whatever it takes to win a premiership. That's the next thing I need to tick off in my career now."
Klemmer says he has no idea if his representative career is over.
"I haven't really thought about it," he said. "If I'm still in Australia's plans and get picked for them in the future I'll definitely play but helping Newcastle to win a comp is my focus and what will be driving me."
# Knights hooker Chris Randall has taken the early guilty plea for a crusher tackle during the elimination semifinal loss to South Sydney and will miss the opening two rounds next season.
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