How NSW enforcer Klemmer almost ended up in the AFL

As he prepares to lead the NSW engine room onto the MCG for Wednesday night's State of Origin opener, David Klemmer has revealed he could have been playing on the hallowed Victorian ground on a regular basis.

Were it not for a sliding doors moment almost a decade ago, the Canterbury and Blues prop could have pursued an Australian rules career.

NSW enforcer David Klemmer, centre, has revealed he was tempted by the Sydney Swans as a child.

Photo: David Moir

As a 15-year-old showing prodigious talent, Klemmer had the world at his feet and was being chased by both rugby league and AFL scouts.

For a couple of years he was part of the Sydney Swans academy after being spotted playing in primary school for Fairfield West and showing real promise.

At 198cm and 116kg, Klemmer doesn't look like the typical AFL player.


But as a skinny, sports-mad kid from Sydney's west, he picked up any ball he could get hold of and excelled at most games he tried.

"I picked it up in primary school and I played for three or four years," Klemmer told AAP.

The 24-year-old prop was said to be under pressure to hold his spot in the NSW side as part of coach Brad Fittler's clean out.

This despite the fact that after 13 rounds he has accumulated more run metres (169m per game) than any forward in the NRL not named Jason Taumalolo.

However his rugby league career – which has included a grand final, nine Origins and 15 Tests – almost didn't come to be.

With the Swans knocking on his door and an offer from Canterbury to join their Harold Matthews Cup side, he was presented with a life-altering decision.

In the end, his boyhood love for the Dogs won out but he said the lure of pursuing a crack at the AFL was very real.

"Definitely mate," he says when asked if he ever really considered an AFL career.

"I loved playing sport as a kid so it was a choice there for me.

"But I loved playing footy and I was a massive Bulldogs supporter as well.

"They came knocking and I couldn't say no to that."


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