Canterbury Bulldogs star forward David Klemmer has enlisted the All Saints-Toongabbie Tigers under-10s side to fight for state pride in this season’s first State of Origin clash.
The team will take on a side from Cameron Smith’s junior club Logan Brothers in the 2017 Junior State of Origin at half-time of game one at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, May 31.
Klemmer warned the players that they might get booed by the notoriously parochial Queensland crowd.
“It’s pretty special. I wish I was one of these kids, it’s pretty awesome,” Klemmer said. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I went to think I was playing there.
“It’ll be a special thing and I hope they get the win against Cameron Smith’s team. I’ll be backing them and I hope they have a good time and have fun.”
Despite growing up in Smithfield, Klemmer joined the Tigers with friends from school, primarily play halfback and centre.
He played with the club until he was signed by the Canterbury Bulldogs at the age of 15.
Having made his way through the ranks to first grade and representative honours, Klemmer said he had fond memories of his time at Toongabbie and having fun with his mates.
“I haven’t been here for about nine years now but it’s good to get back here,” he said. “To see these kids run around and breaking the news they would be playing State of Origin, it’s pretty cool.”
All Saints-Toongabbie Tigers club president Daryn Wilson said it was great to welcome Klemmer back to the club.
“It’s just good to see someone that’s gone through the ranks come back and give these kids the opportunity is once-in-a-lifetime for them,” Mr Wilson said.
“I’m sure these kids will be excited and for David to take the time to come down, the club is buzzing.
“To have a State of Origin player come back to his club and to see the kids faces today is unbelieveable.”
The team will fly up before State of Origin game one with training camps and meet and greets with their opposition.
The Tigers will then play at half-time of the opening Origin match of 2017.
“It didn’t really sink in until they realised they were going to Queensland but I’m sure as it gets closer they’ll be more excited,” he said.
“We’re a community club. Hopefully we can put it that out there that the kids get opportunities like this. For guys like David to come back and pay his respect back to the club is fantastic.”
The club has about 250 players from under-6s to A-Grade and will kick-off their season this weekend after the first round before Easter was washed out.