Dogs coach happy to see Klemmer back

David Klemmer is ready to play his first game of the season. Photo: AAP Image.
David Klemmer is ready to play his first game of the season. Photo: AAP Image.

IT takes a lot to excite laid-back Canterbury coach Des Hasler, but the prospect of big David Klemmer ripping into Penrith's pack tonight had the Bulldogs mentor smiling.

Hasler said Klemmer, who has vowed not to tone down his aggression despite another suspension which delayed his start to the 2016 NRL season, was raring to go.

"David just can't wait to play," said Hasler, his eyes lighting up at the prospect of his 200cm, 120kg enforcer joining James Graham and big Sam Kasiano in the midfield battle with the young Panthers pack.

"We expect him to create a real presence, provide great impact. He gets us going forward."

Hasler has handed the hooker's role to Craig Garvey after regular No.9 Michael Lichaa underwent knee surgery yesterday, which will determine if he plays again this season.

The coach said he was confident ex-Dragons hooker Garvey, whom he described as "very experienced" despite only playing 10 first-grade games, would handle the dummy half role.

Penrith has had to replace its own No.9, with dangerous utility Tyrone Peachey taking over from James Segeyaro, who broke his arm against Canberra last weekend.

"He (Peachey) is a good player, and that's the value with him, he can play almost anywhere," Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said.

Griffin, who said the Bulldogs were "brutal" in their destruction of Manly in round one, said his players would need tighten up their defence and execute better than they did in their loss to Canberra.

"It was a typical, brutal Canterbury effort with (James) Graham and Kasiano leading the charge, along with Aiden Tolman," Griffin said.

The clash will mark 50 years since Penrith played the club's first game in 1967, which coincidentally was against the Bulldogs.



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