NRL, Super Rugby on collision course over Buderus

CHRIS DUTTON
Last updated 13:30 08/11/2012

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The NRL was kept in the dark about star Danny Buderus joining the Brumbies as a consultant defensive coach and they are considering whether to step in and block his move to the rival code.

Wearing a Brumbies shirt and paraded in front of a media backdrop of Super Rugby sponsors, Buderus today announced he would be taking up a part-time coaching role with the Brumbies as a 'collision coach' while he is still playing in the NRL.

But the announcement has put the NRL and Super Rugby on an embarrassing collision course, with an NRL spokesperson admitting the code was not previously informed about the move.

While a lot of former rugby league players have held coaching roles in Super Rugby, there is no precedent for a current NRL player coaching in a rival code.

Buderus, a former Australian and NSW Origin captain, still intends to play for the Newcastle Knights in 2013.

But his role with the Brumbies, one day a week until the start of the NRL season, effectively places him in an ambassador's role for a rival football code.

The Canberra Times contacted the NRL this morning about Buderus's appointment at the Brumbies prior to the announcement but, after investigation, a senior NRL spokesman said the NRL was not aware of it.

As part of NRL protocol, Buderus should have applied to the NRL for a third-party agreement. The NRL spokesperson said he was not aware that one had been received and it was unlikely that such a request would be approved.

Since the announcement was formalised, the NRL has responded by saying it is preparing an official statement.

It is unknown whether Buderus' position at the Brumbies could also have salary cap implications on the Newcastle Knights.

Buderus, 34, will travel to Canberra once a week to coach tackle-specific skills through to the beginning of the NRL season.

Buderus said the opportunity to begin a coaching career was a chance too good to pass up.

"Coaching is something I've always thought would be an interesting way to keep a connection with sport once I'd finished playing and this opportunity certainly allows me to start the ball rolling," Buderus said.

The Brumbies returned to pre-season training last week and Buderus will start working with the side this afternoon.

Buderus is in the twilight of his NRL career and it is understood his Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett wants him to start planning for life after his playing days.

It's a bold move from Brumbies coach Jake White to recruit a current NRL player with Buderus to still play for the Knights next year.

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But since the South African's arrival 12 months ago, White has canvassed ideas from Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur, AFL guru Kevin Sheedy and Melbourne Storm mentor Craig Bellamy.

Buderus joins a star-studded coaching line-up which already includes Wallabies greats Stephen Larkham and George Gregan as well as World Cup-winning mentor White, former Brumbies head coach Laurie Fisher and athletic performance director Dean Benton.

MOVE IN DOUBT

Danny Buderus's proposed coaching role with the Brumbies has been thrown into serious jeopardy, with Newcastle Knights officials saying they are yet to approve the veteran hooker's involvement.

Buderus fronted a press conference on Thursday with Brumbies coach Jake White to announce he had accepted a collision coach role with the Super Rugby outfit but the move may have salary cap implications for the Knights.

However, Knights CEO Matt Gidley said the final proposed agreement has not yet been seen by the club and needs to be submitted to the NRL to determine if the role can proceed.

"As Danny enters his final NRL season before retirement, we have encouraged him, as we do with all our players, to engage in wide ranging work experience in preparation for life after football,” Gidley said.

 “Through the Knights and the NRL/RLPA Welfare and Education program there a number of initiatives and services to ensure Danny's transition into retirement is as seamless and transparent as possible".

Gidley said Buderus's primary focus will remain his on-field role with the Knights.



 

- Sydney Morning Herald

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