BRAYDEN ISSA reports on the explosive situation developing at the Canterbury Bulldogs surrounding representative forward David Klemmer.
After reports surfaced on Saturday claiming David Klemmer was seeking a release from Canterbury, it appears the Bulldogs are set to let the NSW Origin trump walk.
A source close to the club told Commentary Box Sports the Bulldogs are willing to grant David Klemmer a release from his contract at the end of the 2017. A meeting took place on Sunday afternoon shortly before their 38-0 spanking at the hands of the Penrith Panthers.
As the story broke, Bulldogs management went on the defensive, with outgoing CEO Raelene Castle claiming the reports were “completely inaccurate”. However, word circulated fast that Klemmer and his management had put forward a request to be released from his contract, one that expires at the end of 2020.
@raelenecastle are you going to comment on David klemmer asking for a release ? Or continue to dodge and hide from the real issues ?
— Bill Hayek (@BiLLyBoiiiiii) June 3, 2017
It was originally understood that Klemmer and his team had an ongoing financial dispute with the Bulldogs and an unnamed third-party, who was not a sponsor of the club.
Despite using post-match interviews to strongly deny the reports, Commentary Box Sports understands Klemmer is also unhappy with the club’s direction – not only the Bulldogs’ on-field performance, but also their management and recruitment methods. It is understood Klemmer is particularly dissatisfied with the club’s decision to move on popular five-eighth Josh Reynolds.
“I love the club. I don’t want to leave here.” #proudtobeabulldog
— NRL Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) June 4, 2017
The Bulldogs’ board, whilst hopeful to retain Klemmer’s services for the remainder of his contract, is understanding of his stance and will not attempt to keep the Test forward against his will. They remain optimistic Klemmer will remain a Bulldog beyond 2017, but it is believed Klemmer’s mind is made up, having already informed incoming recruit Aaron Woods of his plans to play elsewhere next season.
This development stands to have major repercussions not only at the Bulldogs, but the landscape of the entire league. It comes hot on the heels of the Bulldogs signing Woods, a representative teammate and one of Klemmer’s closest friends, and presents a strange situation in which Klemmer may have become expendable due to Woods’ impending arrival.
It is now likely that James Graham will remain at Canterbury until his contract ends at the end of next season. The skipper was strongly tipped to be the player to make room at the club, linked with Manly, Newcastle, St George Illawarra and the Warriors.
Klemmer, a veteran of nine Tests and seven Origins at just 23 years of age, will immediately become the hottest commodity on the NRL market. Whilst many clubs have already flooded their books with signings for next season, his signature will be of interest to several teams, most notably Newcastle, Manly, Canberra and the Warriors.
— NRL (@NRL) May 21, 2017