Buderus wanted to play: Daley
Country Origin coach Laurie Daley accepted Newcastle skipper Danny Buderus's decision to withdraw from Sunday's clash with City, citing an Achilles heel injury.
Buderus had been involved in a bizarre tug-of-war between Country selectors, who were determined to pick the veteran hooker, and his club coach Wayne Bennett, who was passionately opposed to Buderus playing in the one-off representative game.
It is believed the decision will not affect Buderus's chances of being selected for NSW.
The 34-year-old is in Adelaide, but called Daley on Monday morning to explain the injury and his unavailability for the game, which he claims restricts him from taking part in training sessions up until close to game day.
Daley accepted Buderus's decision, pending confirmation from the club and Country medical staff, saying it wouldn't have made sense to pick a player who couldn't run with the team until two days before the match in Mudgee.
Daley also refused to accept Bennett's claim that Buderus, a five-time Country representative, didn't want to play the match.
"No, he wanted to be a part of it and he made that point clear to me when I spoke to him," Daley said.
"But he did say that he's had an ongoing issue with his Achilles tendon and he felt it was within his best interests to rest it.
"He's been a great servant and didn't want to let Country down and he just indicated he wouldn't be able to do a lot of running and wouldn't be able to run until Friday or Saturday.
"And that disrupts your flow of training."
Daley said he fully appreciated the difficult decision Buderus had been forced to make.
"He didn't want to let anyone down and wouldn't have been able to train," he said.
"It is always a tough decision, stepping down, but he's a fantastic fellow Bedsy [Buderus].
"He understood what we had to do - we had to name the best possible players and go through a process."
Melbourne utility Ryan Hinchcliffe moves from the bench to take over the starting hooker role, while Canberra half Josh McCrone joins a five-man bench, with Daley confirming he has yet to decide who will drop off.
Lock forward Greg Bird takes over the captaincy.