After signing a five-year deal with the Newcastle Knights, David Klemmer has spoken for the first time, admitting the move isn’t about the money.
Klemmer hasn’t been seen since requesting an immediate release from the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, but later sat down with NRL.com to address the controversy surrounding his departure.
The 24-year-old heavily stressed the move wasn’t about money despite rumours stating he was heading to the Hunter region to bulk up his wallet.
NRL.com understands Klemmer will ultimately earn less over the next five years with the Knights than he would have in his final two years with the Dogs.
“I’m not going for money,” Klemmer said.
“People think they know what happens in people’s lives but I’m not selfish. I am taking my family to an environment that I think they need. I am putting what I believe is my family’s best interests ahead of everything else. If people think that’s selfish then I can live with it.”
It’s no secret there has been some dramas over the delicate contractual issues with Klemmer’s most recent deal at Belmore. However, the NSW and Australian prop chose not to blame the club.
“I love the Bulldogs. Always have, always will,” he said.
“I grew up pretending I was Hazem El Masri and all I’ve ever wanted was to play for the Bulldogs. I’m proud of everything I achieved and did for the club. I’m proud I am part of the history of such a great club.
“In business, things happen, but I’ll never say a bad word about the club. They’ve given me everything I’ve got. I know the fans will be disappointed and they have every right to be, but at this point in my life I know I am making the right decision.”
Klemmer made it clear Newcastle was his preferred destination for him and his young family – three boys he has with his high school sweetheart whom he has since married – as they look to move away from Sydney.
The prop fronted Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill last month where he asked for a release upon compassionate grounds but didn’t want to make his private affairs public.
Even when speaking with NRL.com on Monday, Klemmer too decided not to talk about those private affairs.
“I don’t feel the need to justify it. It’s my own business,” Klemmer said.
“What I will say is that I think Newcastle, not just as a club but as a city, will make me a better person. And I hope I can contribute to helping make Newcastle a better football team in return.
“I have a lot of development left in me and I think that fits in well with what Browny is building at the club.
“From the outside, as a footy fan it’s been exciting to see the way Newcastle has been rebuilt and I want to be part of it. From the moment I met Browny I knew I wanted to be there.”
Troy Pezet, Knights recruitment manager and Klemmer’s first manager, helped lead the Knights pursuit of the forward, alongside coach Nathan Brown and halfback Mitchell Pearce.
Klemmer stated Pearce had a major impact on his decision as he helped see that his future was in Newcastle.
“Pearcey has been great,” Klemmer said.
“I’ve played Origin with him and he actually tried to help me out on a personal level during our time together. He gave me a book on spirituality in camp last year to try to help me deal with things away from the field.
“I think we’re pretty similar. We can play things out in our head, so sometimes we need help clearing the head noise. To hear how much Newcastle helped him, it definitely made me comfortable knowing it’s where I want to call home for the next five years.”