Wests Tigers recruit David Klemmer is confident the style in which Tim Sheens and Benji Marshall want to bring to the NRL side will help turn recent results around in 2023.
Klemmer is adamant he is walking into a club on the rise as the representative front-rower spoke openly about his departure from Newcastle.
The trade deal that involved Klemmer and Knights halfback Jackson Hastings is expected to pay off evenly after both clubs missed the finals in 2022.
Klemmer will provide vital experience for a young forward pack that will also be led by former Eel Isaiah Papali’i and premiership-winner Api Koroisau.
The 29-year-old joins the Wests Tigers on a four-year deal, giving him long-term security he wasn’t guaranteed at the Knights.
“Clubs have different cultures and I just wanted to make sure I came down here and brought a good standard to the group,” Klemmer told Ask the Boss.
“It’s been eye-opening seeing how this club operates and the vision Benji [Marshall] and Sheensy [Tim Sheens] have brought to the squad so far, it’s a breath of fresh air for myself.
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“I know the Tigers didn’t have a good year last year, Knights didn’t have a good year either. But the way [we] played against the top eight and top four teams last year was really appealing.
“And the way Benji and Sheensy want to play footy, it’s going to suit this team a lot. We’ve just got to make sure we’ve got the caliber on the field and do it for a whole year not just a couple of weeks.
“I see a lot of potential. As soon as I made the decision, I was pretty content with it and pretty happy. I made the right one.”
Klemmer will have familiar faces around him with Sheens among those who have played a part in his NRL career previously.
Sheens handed Klemmer his international debut for the Kangaroos while assistant coaches Robbie Farah (Origin) and David Furner (Knights assistant) have previously worked with the former Blues hardman.
“How I go about my business in and around training and off the field and making sure I’m doing the right things [is how I want to be judged],” Klemmer said.
“I just want to help the boys coming through and make sure I’m a good role model for them. A lot of them are between just starting and only a couple years of experience so if they do take anything from what I do, I ‘ll be stoked.
“They’ve been trying to make it since they were little fellas as well so if I can help them in any way I’ll be stoked.”
Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe also explained why the club agreed to the Klemmer-Hastings trade deal to and the former Knights forward.
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“It’s a pretty young squad so we were obviously looking for someone who had international experience, State of Origin experience and someone who’s a leader,” Pascoe said.
“All the conversations we’ve had with people about [Klemmer] has been about the high standard and the values he’s had.
“Obviously we spoke about the family values which are really strong to this club but also the leadership qualities and the fact that you don’t accept people not operating to the standard that you will buy into.
“So for us it was pretty easy…we were ecstatic when [he] decided to commit to the club.”