Canterbury prop David Klemmer says he’s relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with English teammate James Graham, if he’s picked for Australia.
If Canterbury prop David Klemmer is picked as a Kangaroos bolter on Tuesday, the first man he will have to thank will be teammate James Graham.
But should Klemmer find himself in the Four Nations line-up when Australia tackles England on November 2, the 20-year-old won’t be doing his British Bulldog mentor any favours.
“We would probably lock horns,” Klemmer said.
“We are mates off the field, but on the field we would go at it.”
Australia are expected to blood a couple of young front rowers in their squad for the Four Nations tournament which starts on October 25 in Brisbane, with several international props unavailable through injury and suspension.
The absence of Matt Scott, Nate Myles, James Tamou, Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen leaves Australia looking light on experience in the engine room, but opens the door for some young bulls to make their mark.
Wests Tigers and NSW work horse Aaron Woods is set to lead the pack after starring for the Prime Minister’s XIII in Papua New Guinea on Sunday, but Klemmer is vying for a place in the squad along with Bulldogs teammate Aiden Tolman, Josh Papalii, Brenton Lawrence, Dylan Napa and Jacob Lillyman.
Klemmer has come off the interchange bench in all 27 of his NRL appearances, but at two metres tall and 120kg, the Canterbury youngster offers tremendous impact.
Since making grade last season, Klemmer has worked closely with Graham, arguably the benchmark prop in the NRL.
Graham was in unstoppable form to finish the season and will lead English hopes in the international tournament also featuring New Zealand and Samoa, particularly given the unavailability of injured Sam Burgess.
Klemmer credits Graham for his rapid rise.
“He’s just made me a better footballer,” he said.
“I used to just run straight at blokes and he’s taken me under his wing and shown me how to be a better, smarter front rower.
“That little step before the line, just not running straight at someone and getting upended. And also working on my passing game. He’s a good ball player and I like learning off him.”
Klemmer said he’d be shocked if a Kangaroos jersey came his way, but also ready to take his opportunity.
“If I do get that chance then I’ll be more than ready. I’ll take it with both hands,” he said.
“It’s every kid’s dream to play for their country.
“But I’ll just have to wait and see, I might have to wait a couple of years.
“If not, I’m just happy to play first grade every week and concentrate on my pre-season for a big year next year.”