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Butchers import desperate for premiership


By MITCH JENNINGS Illawarra Mercury

Steve Renouf, Lote Tuqiri, Justin Hodges … Denan Kemp – it’s a hell of a list to feature on.

The quartet share the distinction of a Brisbane Broncos club record four tries in a match and new Thirroul Butchers signing Kemp admits he still gets tingles when he recalls the night he joined the illustrious list in 2008.

‘‘It’s a childhood dream to score the match-winning try after the bell, but to do it off a Darren Lockyer kick for my fourth try of the game …I did feel lucky,’’ Kemp said.

‘‘If I have doubts about leaving the NRL, I just think about how lucky I’ve been to play with the people like Darren Lockyer, Shane Webcke, Petero Civonoceiva, Brad Thorn, Justin Hodges and be coached by Wayne Bennett.

‘‘Wayne Bennett and all  the advice he gave me still has a lasting effect on my life.’’

Though his 42-game NRL career, including stints with the Warriors and the Dragons, had obvious highlights the 26-year-old admits life on the fringes of the NRL did erode his passion.

He hopes a move to Thirroul to pursue an electrical apprenticeship and turnout for the Butchers under former teammate Nathan Fien will rekindle his love for the game.

‘‘I was in the Broncos first grade squad last year but it was getting to be a bit of a chore,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m 26 which isn’t very old but I thought ‘I’ve got to bite the bullet here’ I want to be successful outside of footy.

‘‘I’m pretty good mates with Fieny, I played with him at the Warriors and the Dragons, and he heard I was thinking about coming back. 

‘‘My missus is from here and I really like Wollongong, I’ve got a lot of good mates here and I just though ‘why not come back and play for the enjoyment of it?’’’

Coal League rivals, though, shouldn’t expect less than 100per cent Kemp on the paddock.

‘‘I’ve said to Fieny I want to go hard, I want to win it,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve never won a premiership so it’d be great to get a first one here.’’

Though he spent his NRL career on the wing, Kemp said he’s eyeing off the number one jumper at the Butchers hopeful of striking up a combination with Fien.

‘‘I debuted [in the NRL] at fullback so that’s where I’d like to play,’’ he said.

‘‘Me and Fieny had a pretty good combination at the Warriors and we played pretty well off each other so I’ll get off his hip and hopefully he’ll put me through a few holes.’’ 

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