Danny Buderus's coaching role with the ACT Brumbies was doomed from the moment the Super Rugby franchise's media manager Elliot Woods handed him one of the team's training shirts to put on just before the press conference to announce his appointment.
A photo on Fairfax websites of Buderus wearing the shirt that accompanied a story posted soon after left stunned NRL officials demanding answers from the Knights about the veteran hooker's involvement with the rival code.
The NRL had been given no warning that the Brumbies were going to announce Buderus as their ''collision coach'' in a move that ensured a day of massive publicity for rugby union.
The job is also a potential salary cap breach as the NRL had not approved what is effectively a third-party deal for Buderus, and there were suggestions from Brumbies coach Jake White that the arrangement would also benefit the Knights.
For their part, Knights officials say they were unaware of the extent of the commitment that Buderus had made to the Brumbies and Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett is understood to have told NRL officials he had thought the job was a ''one-off''.
Bennett did not respond to phone calls or text messages from Fairfax on Thursday but it is understood the consultancy role came out of a conversation he had with Brumbies high performance manager Dean Benton, who he worked with at the Broncos.
Fairfax was told that Buderus was forwarded a copy of the press release announcing his appointment on Wednesday night, but Knights officials
maintain they were not fully aware of what he had agreed to.
Buderus no longer has a manager and Knights chief executive Matt Gidley, who is one of his best mates, has been away on leave.
Despite blocking the move, the NRL still wants answers after White and Buderus suggested the Knights had approved the role and the club may face a breach notice.
''It's fantastic the Knights and the Brumbies have been able to come to this agreement and I can see benefits for both organisations,'' White said.
''I'd like to thank the Newcastle Knights, in particular their head coach Wayne Bennett, for being so accommodating with Danny's services.''
Buderus, who had been meant to train with the Brumbies for the first time on Thursday afternoon, told the noon press conference in Canberra that he was ''first and foremost a rugby league player'' and did not envisage any problem.
''It will be fine, I've got things in place, I've got a supportive club in Newcastle,'' Buderus said before the NRL stepped in.
''It's not a betrayal [of league], I hope it's not out there with the rugby league and rugby union thing ... I don't think there's too much animosity there. It's just a coaching thing and hopefully I can benefit these guys. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm lucky to be here.''
Buderus said he saw the role, which he was to perform each Wednesday, as an opportunity to gain some coaching experience before he retires at the end of next year.
However, just hours later he was on his way back to Newcastle and the Brumbies were looking for another defensive consultant.
''It is hard to envisage any circumstance where an agreement could be approved that allowed a current NRL player to promote another code competing in the same market as an NRL team,'' interim NRL chief executive Shane Mattiske said.
''The announcement today which saw Danny at a press conference in another code's training gear underlines potential issues. We will be seeking an immediate response from the Knights and as much as we respect Danny's intentions we do not see any way in which the proposal can be pursued.''
Gidley said the Knights had not seen the final proposed agreement between Buderus and the Brumbies, which needed NRL approval. ''As Danny enters his final NRL season before retirement, we have encouraged him ... to engage in wide-ranging work experience in preparation for life after football,'' he said.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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