Klemmer gets blessing from Dogs great to leave
CANTERBURY great David Gillespie says David Klemmer is mad if he doesn't leave the Bulldogs and take up a lucrative deal with NRL rivals Newcastle.
Klemmer appeared a step closer to linking with the Knights on a big-money four-year deal from 2019 after the Test prop reportedly underwent a medical assessment with Newcastle on Tuesday.
Klemmer is reportedly on $400,000 a season at Canterbury but hopes to be released from the final two years of his Bulldogs contract in order to snatch up the rich Knights offer, believed to be $1.2 million a season.
Two-time Bulldogs premiership winner Gillespie did not want to see Klemmer leave but would not blame the NSW enforcer for becoming a Knight next year.
"As an ex-player and a Bulldogs fan I would love to see him stay," Gillespie said.
"But the way the modern game is today you can't blame him (for leaving).
"They are in a tough time at the moment and that's why you don't want to lose more players.
"But if he's getting offered three times what he is currently on he's mad not to, isn't he?"
Speculation ramped up that Klemmer was Knights-bound after reports Newcastle's high performance team traveled to Sydney on Tuesday to provide the 24-year-old a medical clearance.
It is believed Klemmer will officially request a Canterbury release this week citing personal issues after the Knights were reportedly given permission by the Bulldogs to negotiate with the prop.
Newcastle have made no secret of their desire to sign a big-name forward after missing out on Brisbane duo Tevita Pangai and Matt Lodge.
Former Test and NSW forward Gillespie said Klemmer would be hard to replace after the Bulldogs had also recently lost Aaron Woods, Brett and Josh Morris and Moses Mbye.
Gillespie said the Bulldogs would have been relying on players like Klemmer to rebuild under coach Dean Pay next season after they finished 12th in 2018 with just eight wins.
"If you are a supporter you don't want to see those sort of players go," said Gillespie, who played 115 games for Canterbury from 1984-90.
"We've already lost a few players in the last 18 months.
"And David Klemmer is an Origin and Test player so he is hard to replace."