Josh Jackson says Canterbury teammate David Klemmer can have a similar impact on the NRL as South Sydney’s George Burgess this season.
Canterbury back-rower Josh Jackson believes giant young prop David Klemmer can have a similar impact on the NRL as South Sydney behemoth George Burgess.
Klemmer has been named on the bench for the Bulldogs’ clash with Brisbane on Friday following an injury-hit 2013 where he played the opening four games of the season before being sidelined with a serious knee problem.
The 20-year-old, who tips the scales at a whopping 120kg and stands a centimetre shy of two metres, put pen to paper on a three-year deal worth $1 million at the start of last season making him the highest-paid teenager in the game.
It took that lucrative deal to keep him at the Bulldogs with several clubs including Wayne Bennett’s Newcastle keen to acquire his services after he won the Holden Cup player of the year award in 2012.
Burgess is the same weight as Klemmer, but five centimetres smaller and Jackson is confident his teammate can emulate the Englishman’s punishing style following a rigorous pre-season under Des Hasler that has him in the best shape of his life.
“It’s just a matter of him getting some time on the park and getting that experience and confidence,” Jackson said.
“But I don’t see any reason why he can’t be as good (as Burgess).
“He’s got fit and he’s looking really good.
“He’s had a horror run with injuries but he’s so fired up and ready to go.”
A strong performance against Brisbane will put pressure on Hasler to keep him in the side once Sam Kasiano returns from a foot injury, with the Kiwi front-rower tipped to be back for round three.
But Hasler showed last year when he hooked Kasiano for the rest of the game early in the second half of a heavy defeat at Newcastle following a mistake that led to a try that he’s not afraid to keep the 23-year-old on the sidelines.
Canterbury front-rower Aiden Tolman, who’s a tiny 104kg in comparison to Klemmer, said he can’t wait to pack down with the former Australian schoolboys representative.
“He’s a big unit and whether he’s coming off the bench or starting, he’s going to run hard and that enthusiasm and energy is what we need,” Tolman said.