CLASS act Danny Buderus wants to show Engage Super League what he is all about.
The former Australia Test captain is now into his third season at Leeds Rhinos – and he admits the British game hasn’t yet seen the best of him.
Buderus has been troubled by injury and missed the second half of his debut 2009 campaign due to a broken leg.
“I have been disappointed over the last couple of years,” Buderus said, ahead of the clash against Harlequins.
“It would be nice to have a good year and for me to be happy with how I’m playing – and for a few of the fans to say that I was a good Rhinos player.”
Buderus had to share hooking duties with Matt Diskin during his first two seasons at Leeds, but has been undisputed first choice since his former colleague left for Bradford Bulls.
He has played all 160 minutes of Rhinos’ two matches so far and said: “It has been a difficult couple of years, but I am enjoying myself and I am also injury free, which helps.
“I am enjoying coming to training and learning off the new staff that we have got here and having a good time.
“It is different when you are coming on and off in games – both Disko and I would say that. You don’t get a rhythm of the game when you go on and off as hooker.
“Everyone want to get a bit of rhythm in a game, that’s what it’s all about. You go through periods when you might not have an attacking chance – you defend for the first 20 minutes, then you go off and sit on the bench for a while.
“Now you get the chance to do the hard stuff having to defend all the time, then you get your chance to attack and that’s what makes it enjoyable.”
The different approach to the hooking role – using one player there for the majority of the game rather than interchanging – is one aspect of new boss Brian McDermott’s overhaul of the way that the Rhinos do things.
Said Buderus: “We have stripped it right back to a whole different style. The plays get called different names.
“Our style is going to be a lot different this year and in defence we are working on a few things that are different and interesting and enterprising.
“All the boys have bought right into it and we are improving on a week-to-week basis. That’s what it’s all about at this time of year.”
Leeds’ players and staff have made it clear they want to entertain this season.
“We want to pass a bit,” Buderus said. “I think with the skill we have got in this team and the players we have here, you don’t want to limit them.
“We have also got to work out when we can knock it back and play a grinding style. We have to be good at doing that and we need to have a good balance.
“But defence is the key. If we can keep repelling teams, we will do all right. We have leaked a few tries that we are not happy with, but that is going to happen while we are trying a few new things out.
“If we get that rock-solid I think our confidence will grow in attack and that’s what the fans over here like to see, a good attacking style of footy.”
Tonight’s match is Rhinos’ first at home this year and that gives it an added importance, according to Buderus.
“To go well in any season you need to win most home games,” he stated. “That’s what we are about this year.
“We didn’t start too well last year, we had a lot of things on our minds leading into this part of the season, but all we have got to focus on now is the week-to-week battle and that’s what’s great at the moment.
“The boys turn up on Mondays at training and they are really enthusiastic to get into a week’s work.”
Injured back-rowers Carl Ablett (ankle) and Brett Delaney (knee) drop out for the team which beat Hull last week and Rhinos will also be without full-back Brent Webb.
He was named in the initial 19, but coach Brian McDermott said he won’t play, due to the knee injury suffered at Hull.
Ali Lauitiiti (head) and Ben Cross (ill) are both set to return, with Jay Pitts and Paul McShane also in contention.
Ryan Bailey (groin) and knee injury victims Jamie Peacock and Danny McGuire remain on the long-term casualty list.
McDermott said: “We have had some illness in the camp this week and (under-20s forward) Brad Singleton was close to being named in the 19. He played very strongly for the reserves at Hull last week.
Quins could give a debut to former Leeds winger Mark Calderwood. Olsi Krasniqi and Karl Pryce are also added to the squad which beat Crusaders last week, with Lamont Bryan the player to drop out.
Leeds Rhinos: from Jones-Bishop, Smith, Watkins, Senior, Hall, Sinfield, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Burgess, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Clarkson, Cross, Kirke, Hauraki, Pitts, McShane, Webb.
Harlequins: from Dorn, O’Callaghan, Clubb, Howell, Melling, Randall, Gale, Wilkes, Ellis, Ward, Purdham, Burnett, Bailey, Temata, Ambler, Kouparitsas, Calderwood, Pryce, Krasniqi.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).
Kick-off: Tonight, 8pm.