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Lunch for the Stars with Danny Buderus & Sam Poolman

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Join us for our sports themed Lunch for the Stars event at the spectacular Noah's on the Beach, with Danny Buderus & Sam Poolman as our guest speakers!

At Grow a Star, we help young people to realise their dreams, and we are delighted to announce that our guest speakers, Danny Buderus and Sam Poolman are professional sports people who know only too well about the importance of having dreams and how realising them can change your life.

With our MC Garth Russell expertly guiding the conversation, come along and hear the inspiring stories of our local sporting heroes, alongside some of our young Grow a Star scholarship recipients on the day!

Danny Buderus

Danny Buderus is the Newcastle Knights most capped player, suiting up in the famous red and blue jersey 257 times between 1997 and 2013.

The enormity of his achievements on the field are only matched by his humility off it. Born and raised at Taree on the NSW Mid North Coast, Danny joined the Knights as a teenager and represented the Australian Schoolboys out of St. Francis Xavier Hamilton in 1995 and 1996. He made his First Grade debut during the Premiership year of 1997 and would soon become a mainstay of the side, featuring in the Club’s second title in 2001.

That same year he played the first of 25 Test Matches for Australia and by 2002 he was among the first picked for New South Wales in State of Origin – playing 21 straight games at hooker between 2002 and 2008, captaining the side to series victories in 2004 and 2005. He would ultimately set the record for most appearances as NSW Captain, with 15. Named Dally M Representative Player of the Year in 2002, Danny also captained Australia on four occasions becoming only the third Knights to achieve this honour after Paul Harragon and Andrew Johns.

Named Dally M Player of the Year in 2004 and Dally M Hooker of the Year on three occasions, Danny’s record-breaking stint with the Knights was only broken by a three year, 83 game interlude in England with Leeds Rhinos, with whom he won the 2011 Super League title and featured in two losing Challenge Cup Final teams.

His 257th and final game for the Knights came in the 2013 Preliminary Final loss to eventual premiers, the Sydney Roosters. He would later move into coaching, first as an assistant coach, before a six game stint as interim Head Coach in 2015. More recently, he has served as the Club’s General Manager of Football.

In 2019, Danny was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame. He remains one of only 110 players to be afforded this honour in the 115-year history of the sport in Australia.

Sam Poolman

Sam Poolman is the Head of Athlete Development & Foundation Officer at Newcastle Grammar School, a regular commentator on Fox Sports Netball broadcast, a board member of Sport Integrity Australia and the founder and Director of Aspire Netball.

A proud product of the Netball NSW player pathways, Sam Poolman started as a junior netballer at West Leagues Netball Club in Newcastle. She was a staple of the Australian underage squads, making her first representative netball team at the age of 12 and going on to be named to every State and National team for her age group as she progressed through the pathways. During this time, she won five National Netball Championship titles. Her talents earned her an Australian Institute of Sport Scholarship in 2011, when she was just 20 years old, and she was also selected as a NSWIS athlete for seven years - both opportunities which helped set her up for a career at the top level. The agile defender, who has made a name for herself as one of the toughest goal defenders in professional netball, made her elite debut in 2013 as a member of the Trans-Tasman Netball League 2013 Premiership winning Adelaide Thunderbirds. She played with the team for three years, making her mark in the netball world and garnering attention around the league.

Sam was selected to be one of the inaugural GIANTS Netball team members and GIANT #7 when the team made its debut in the Suncorp Super Netball League in 2017. The side went on to make the 2017 Grand Final – a huge accomplishment for a team in their first year – and followed that up by securing the Minor Premiership in 2018.In 2017, Sam was named as the GIANTS Netball Members’ Player of the Year, reflecting her popularity with the team’s fanbase and the respect held for her as an elite athlete. On the international level, Sam has represented her country at the 2017 and 2018 Fast5 Netball World Series competitions and was also named as an Australian Diamonds Training Partner during the squad’s 2017 Quad Series preparations. Sam was nominated as a finalist in the 2017 Women’s Health Women in Sports Awards ‘One to Watch’ category and was awarded the Newcastle Young Citizen of the Year award in 2021.


Our sporting themed business lunch aims to raise $20,000.00 which will go directly to our Grow a Star program, an innovative, youth mentoring and scholarship program that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds overcome the financial obstacles that are preventing them from following their dreams.

This first of its kind program was initiated by Home in Place in 2012. Since its launch, the program has assisted hundreds of people to pursue their academic, artistic and sporting goals at grassroots and representative levels.

It is open to any young person between the ages of 10 -18, engaged in education, training or employment who can demonstrate a need for assistance.  

We believe that encouraging generational change through empowering young people, has far reaching, long-term, positive effects with the community.

Get your tickets today and help us change the lives of young people in our region today!


Garth Russell


Thank you to our wonderful sponsors:



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