Illawarra Mercury By MITCH JENNINGS
Thirroul have pulled off the Illawarra Coal League’s latest signing coup, confirming that former Brisbane Broncos flyer Denan Kemp will turn out in Butchers colours this year.
Captain-coach Nathan Fien said 26-year-old Kemp will bring a touch of class to the Butchers’ backline.
“Obviously a player with Denan’s NRL experience across the Broncos, the Warriors and also St George is a great addition to our squad,” Fien said.
“He’s going to bring that strike power to our backline … he doesn’t need much of a gap.
“In terms of what he’s capable of, I’ve played with him at the Warriors and also the Dragons so I was really keen and excited to hear that he was willing to come back down to Wollongong.
“His partner’s from down here and we identified that pretty early and jumped on him straight away.”
Kemp played the bulk of his NRL career on the wing, but Fien said he may feature more prominently for the Butchers at fullback or in the centres.
“Obviously he’s got the ability to play there [fullback] but he’s also a definite finisher and try-scorer so he could fit in at wing or centre,” he said.
“A ball hasn’t been kicked yet so we’re a long way off knowing what our 17 for round one will be.
“At this stage I’m pretty open minded about where we’ll lock in different players and that includes Denan.
“He just needs to work hard now and get as close to a 100 per cent fitness as he can, which is what we’re all trying to do at this stage.”
Kemp will feature in all of the Butchers pre-season trials, beginning with a clash against Group 7 club Albion Park on March 15.
“It all kicks off in March for us,” Fien said.
“Our first hit-out is against Albion Park and I think we’re going to get a lot out of that game – they’re a good young side.
“The following week we’re playing Wagga and then Collies.
“Everyone will get the chance to put their hand up for selection and I’m looking forward to seeing how the boys go.”