Canterbury Bulldogs deny bad blood with former enforcer David Klemmer

“I guess everyone thought he would be here for most of his career, if not all of it.

“It was just hard at the time. It happened in pre-season and we didn’t get to see him before we left.

“It’s nothing personal. It’s just the way it is. He made the decision for his family and that’s the way it is.”

Jackson has only spoken to Klemmer once since he left the club. Fellow Canterbury stalwart Aiden Tolman hasn’t spoken to Klemmer at all.

“Obviously he has left us and we miss him here. He was a big part of our team for a number of years,” Tolman said.

“He debuted in ’13 and did a lot for us but that is the way rugby league is. He thought he had to move on and an opportunity came up at the Knights.”

The hole Klemmer has left at Belmore has been filled by a similar, snarling, forward pack leader in Dylan Napa.

Napa may not have crossed paths with Klemmer as they both swapped clubs in the same summer but they have been in contact since.

“He has messaged me a few times. He spent a lot of time here at the Bulldogs and he still has a lot of friendships here,” Napa said.

“It’s mutual respect, I think. I know I respect him as a player and as a person.

“He is a good fella. He just looks a bit scary.”

Napa may not want to admit it but his battle with Klemmer will likely determine who takes two points back across the border.

“I’ve been playing against big Klem since I was 18. That’s eight, nine years now,” Napa said.

“You don’t miss him on the field. He’s a big lad.

“It usually takes more than one to stop him and it is no secret how he plays. He plays straight up the guts and keeps coming.

“It’s going to be a hard task but that’s what we go to training for – for these battles.”

The Napa-Klemmer battle will also go a long way to deciding the winner of this year’s Origin series.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about Origin,” Napa said.

“It is something I have been a part of for a couple of years, so I am hoping to be part of it again.

“But my main goal is playing good footy for the Bulldogs.

“I just have to try and get back to what I’m good at and try and get some wins for this team.

“Personal success comes off the back of team success.”

Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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