William Hopoate of Tonga (R) catches up with David Klemmer of Australia (L) after their game in the rugby league international Test match between Australia and Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on October 20, 2018. (Photo by Fiona Goodall / AFP) (Photo credit should read FIONA GOODALL/AFP/Getty Images)

It's been eight years since Tim Sheens handed David Klemmer his maiden Kangaroos jersey, and now the big man couldn't be any more excited over the pair's Concord reunion.

Klemmer was released from the final year of his Newcastle Knights' contract last week to take up a three-year deal with the Wests Tigers, and a mutual option for 2026 to give the fiery front-rower some security moving forward.

He'll link up with Sheens, who's taking the reins at the Wests Tigers for two seasons before handing them to former Tiger and current assistant coach, Benji Marshall, for 2025 and beyond.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: David Klemmer of the Newcastle Knights during the round 7 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium on April 28, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

It means that Sheens' Wests Tigers reunion will start and end with Klemmer in the club's forward pack, the veteran head coach handing 'Klem' his first ever green-and-gold jersey at the backend of 2014.

“He didn't say anything until the end of the week, then he told me I was playing, and I was over the moon,” Klemmer recalled to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“He was good for me, being so young. He's still got the same coaching style. He knows rugby league inside out. He can adapt to how the game is now - there's a few things that have changed, but he's still a good coach.”

While the then 20-year-old prop was just a pup in terms of his NRL career, now he's an experienced veteran himself, the 28-year-old just six games shy of the 200 NRL game milestone, another moment he'll share with Sheens.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16: Tigers coach Tim Sheens watches on from the bench during the round three NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at WIN Jubilee Stadium on March 16, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Klemmer had just bought a house in Warners Bay back in Newcastle, and was keen to remain in the Hunter for the foreseeable future, however, the Knights didn't share his point of view.

“I went back to Newcastle to see if there was anything there for the next couple of years after next year,” he said to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“There wasn't anything and they thought about maybe me and Hastings swapping.

“I've got a lot of footy left in me and the fire still burns, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to come here and play for the Tigers. They are definitely looking on the up.”

The front-rower comes as the latest signature in arguably the club's biggest-ever recruitment drive, snaring Charlie Staines, Isaiah Papalii and Apisai Koroisau, all three of which took part in the 2022 NRL Grand Final.

All it took was a meeting at Wests Tigers' new centre of excellence to convince the former Bulldog where his next home would be.

“After that first meeting I was pretty much over the line,” he admitted.

“Just how he (Sheens) was talking about things, talking about footy. He's just a rugby league coach and I still want to get better.

“I've played a long time and want to get better in all aspects on and off the field. He's there and Benji (Marshall) has got his own way he wants to coach and help out. It's very exciting.”

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: David Klemmer of the Kangaroos looks on before the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final between the Australian Kangaroos and England at Suncorp Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

When Sheens handed him that Kangaroos jersey, Klemmer was a rookie, walking into the Australian side with under 30 NRL games to his name.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and Sheens will reunite with the front-rower so that the 28-year-old can transition into a mentor for the Tigers' own rookie forwards to flourish.

“There are a lot of young guys coming through, a lot of middles [forwards] with potential,” he said.

“I want to play with them and try to help them out in any way on or off the field. I want to get out there with them, train hard and try to improve them. I love that.”

Klemmer is expected to waltz straight into the orange-and-black No. 10 jersey, where he's set to face the Titans at Leichhardt Oval to kick-start his Wests Tigers career, before facing his former club and Adam O'Brien the following week.