The 34-year-old was superb in Newcastle’s 20-6 win over Canterbury and outshone incumbent NSW rake Michael Ennis.

Bennett believes the former Blues skipper is playing well enough to return for the first time since 2008, following a three-year stint with Leeds in the English Super League.

“He’s been absolutely outstanding at the club,” Bennett said.

“I hope age is not an issue for Origin because his form dictates he should be there.

“I’d love to see him play. I can’t give him a big enough wrap. He’s 10 out of 10 on and off the field … he’s what you call the real deal.”

Buderus was the last captain to lead NSW to a series victory in 2005 and the former Queensland coach said he’d been surprised at how good his displays have been since he brought him back to the Knights.

“He brings yesteryear with him and the pride he has in the team and the town,” Bennett said.

“If he wants to play next year I am more than happy to have him there.

“He hasn’t missed a beat, he’s been remarkable.”

Buderus claimed he’s not considered Origin since his return but felt he could still make the step up mentally and physically.

“There’s some good hookers and an incumbent, and I would have to be good to knock him off,” Buderus said.

“Mentally you have no choice but to rise in Origin. It jumps up 10 levels and of course I can jump up to that level.”

Buderus said he wouldn’t have returned from a successful spell in the UK for any other club when Bennett offered him the chance to come home.

And the former Test star said the three years with the Rhinos were among the happiest in his career, and allowed him to rediscover his love for the game away from the goldfish bowl of Newcastle.

“It was great to clear my head,” he said.

“Things back then got to me and things got said, but I have come back with a whole new attitude and things don’t affect me as much.

“Being at Leeds got me away from the grind. I met some fantastic people and it refreshed me in many ways and I was out of the bubble.”

Buderus admitted he was slightly embarrassed by the backing he received from Bennett, but said he wanted to repay him for the faith he has shown in him.

“I was proud to get a call from Wayne to come back,” he said.

“I was quite happy at Leeds and under contract.

“I wouldn’t have come back to any other club. The Rhinos mean too much to me. The only club that mean more are the Knights.”

In Sunday’s other game, Melbourne kept alive their 100 per cent record for the season with a 44-4 affiliation of Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park.

Billy Slater continued his red-hot form with two more tries to take his total for the season to eight.

His Queensland teammate Cooper Cronk also scored two in the Storm’s eight-try romp.