No two State of Origin players backed up under tougher circumstances last week than Canterbury’s David Klemmer and Josh Jackson.
In the space of less than 48 hours, Klemmer carried the ball for 314 metres in two different countries, coming off the bench for his Bulldogs after a star showing in Origin II, while Jackson fronted after winning Man of the Match honours for the Blues to be one of the Bulldogs’ best in a 21-14 loss to the Warriors on Friday night.
“‘Klem’ was very good backing up from Origin, he did his usual stuff, big carries and very aggressive and that’s what you expect from him week in, week out,” Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman said.
“That’s his role as a front-rower, he has got to come on and make metres, that’s what we expect him to do and what he does.
David Klemmer ran further than any forward on the field tonight.#uptheblues
— NSW Blues 🔵 (@NSWRL) June 21, 2017
“Josh Jackson was outstanding as well, he doesn’t get the raps he deserves, he puts his body on the line every set, he is always leading that line speed, always making a big tackle when he has to.
“He is the unsung hero of this team really. He is our best player, he has been our best player all year.
“A lot of other guys get the big raps but he is our best and continues to do that backing up from Origin.”
While a glut of State of Origin players stood down from club duty in Round 16, including all four of Melbourne’s representatives, the fact that Klemmer and Jackson backed up despite their side playing in New Zealand two days after a bruising encounter in Sydney, speaks volumes.
Bulldogs captain James Graham hailed the pair’s commitment to the Belmore club following the defeat in Auckland.
— NRL (@NRL) June 21, 2017
“[They backed up] outstandingly, I thought for them to play like they both did on Wednesday, get a flight first thing Thursday and come and play for the Blue and White, it shows how much it means to them,” Graham said.
“Definitely the way [Klemmer] came on and carried the football was really good.”
Sitting 12th on the NRL ladder heading into Round 17, coach Des Hasler’s side have just six wins to their name and have a potentially season-defining clash against the Parramatta Eels on Thursday night.
A loss to the Eels would likely see Canterbury fall four points outside of the top eight with nine rounds remaining in the regular season.