During Super League’s long and captivating history, we’ve seen some outstanding Australians make the swich over to these shores. The likes of Trent Barrett and now Greg Inglis have starred in our competition. But Aussie stars are one thing, Aussie captains are something completely different.
The Australian test captains have been a breed all of their own full of leadership and quality. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Australian skippers have seen out their career in the NRL such as Cameron Smith so much so we’ve only seen a few former Australian test captains in Super League.
In 2005 we were blessed to see Andrew Johns play a handful of games for Warrington but one Aussie skipper spent three seasons in Super League and that man was Danny Buderus. But where is he now?
Interestingly enough he, like Johns, also bled for Newcastle Knights and the pair debuted just years apart. Buderus’ first appearance in the red and blue came in 1997. The pair then guided the club to the Premiership in 2001 with victory against Parramatta Eels.
2001 also saw him join Johns as an Australian international as the pair set out to conquer every corner of rugby league as a dynamic duo. That said, they failed to conquer West Yorkshire in 2002 as they met Bradford in the World Club Challenge. Buderus scored in the defeat. Little did he know that one day his legacy would stretch to god’s own county.
Johns and Buderus continued to dominate. The number nine was twice named Dally M Hooker of the Year in 2002 and 2003 before taking home the Dally M Medal itself in 2004 becoming only the second hooker to do so. In 2005 he claimed the Hooker of the Year award again having captained New South Wales to the State of Origin with two tries in three games as he proved to be the finest player in the world in his position. The Blues skipper also captained Australia in 2004 and 2005 as he and Johns continued to dominate world rugby with Australia, New South Wales and Newcastle.
Unfortunately, in 2007 Buderus lost his pal as Johns was forced to retire in April at the age of just 32. Now without Johns by his side, Buderus was tempted to Super League as he looked to concur the one part of the world Johns had yet to truly dominate despite his brief stint at Warrington.
In 2008 it was announced Buderus would join reigning Super League Champions Leeds as the Rhinos went in search of an unprecedented third title in a row. His arrival drummed up much discussion as Matt Diskin was forced to give up the number nine jersey despite his impressive Rhinos legacy. However, there’s no denying Buderus added a touch of class to an already brilliant Leeds side. However, a mid-season injury meant Leeds were forced to win the Grand Final without the Australian star. They did so with Diskin scoring a crucial try in victory over St Helens.
It still left Buderus without a Super League Grand Final win however. So, he set about claiming one over the next two years and it came in his final game as a Rhinos. Having been named man of the match in Leeds’ semi-final win over Warrington he started in the Rhinos’ Grand Final win over St Helens as he and Rob Burrow forged the perfect partnership at hooker.
Having toppled England, he returned home in 2012 and gave two more seasons of blood, sweat and tears to Newcastle Knights. A certified Newcastle legend, no man has made more appearances for the club than the hooker. Unsurprisingly, he remained at the club in 2014 as an assistant coach and even took over as interim Head Coach in 2015.
He left the club in 2016 and spent time as a selector for New South Wales whilst also featuring on TV covering the NRL.
Unsurprisingly, in 2020 he was drawn back to Newcastle Knights taking over as General Manager at the club leaving him in charge of recruitment. Last year he even talked about creating a relationship with former teammate Kevin Sinfield, Leeds’ Director of Rugby, and moving players between the only two clubs he played for.