David Klemmer has emerged a calmer and more mature player and person from his clash with NRL officialdom, says his NSW teammate Aaron Woods.
Good mates Klemmer, 21, and Woods, 24, who will play alongside one another in the Blue jersey for just the second time in Wednesday’s State of Origin II, are set to form the core of the NSW pack for years to come.
On the back of his Kangaroos debut last year, Klemmer made a significant impact from the bench in NSW’s loss in Game I last month. Woods believes the Canterbury firebrand has all the makings of a long-term Blue.
“It was his first game (Origin I) and he was enormous and he is only going to get better, much better,” Woods told AAP.
“I tell you one thing about Dave – he just loves rugby league, he just wants to have a hit up and make a tackle and he doesn’t want to let his teammates down.
“He wants to hear from them: ‘you had a good game, you ripped in’.”
Klemmer garnered headlines for all the wrong reasons in April after the Bulldogs’ Good Friday match with South Sydney. Klemmer was sin-binned for showing dissent towards referee Gerard Sutton late in the controversial loss. He was later banned for three matches.
Woods said his roommate at the Blues’ camp at Coffs Harbour has become a better man from that experience.
“Dave did get a bad rap with what happened with the Souths game a few weeks ago but he is totally different to that off the field,” Woods said.
“He has a young family and he is one of the best dads you have met; one of the best family men you have met.
“No one is perfect and it wasn’t a big mistake – he just shouldn’t have swore. But to Dave’s credit, he has come back bigger and stronger and now he is playing for NSW.
“He is calmer now and has learnt how to handle himself under pressure and to not blow up like that.
“The way he has carried himself since that incident, he has been unreal.”