Burton won’t backflip on the Bulldogs

Bulldogs-bound Penrith playmaker Matt Burton says he won’t backflip on his Canterbury deal, and he feels relief that his immediate future is sorted as the Panthers chase seven straight wins against Newcastle on Thursday.

The Bulldogs had pushed for Burton to join the club this season before his deal officially starts in 2022, but the Panthers denied the request.

Since then, the St John’s Dubbo junior has excelled for Penrith playing in the centres with three tries in four games.

Bulldogs-bound Matt Burton says his contract saga added ‘pressure’. Picture: Nathan Hopkins/NRL PhotosSource:The Daily Telegraph

Burton admits the fanfare around his future created extra pressure, especially when he personally pushed for a release, but he now feels free that he knows he will be staying at the Panthers for the rest of the season.

“Yeah, there was a little bit there for the early release, but it is good now to get it settled,” Burton said.

“There was obviously a bit of pressure there with people not knowing what was going on, but it is good to finally sort it out and it is good to be here.

“It is a relief to have it off my shoulders, and now I can just play some good footy.”

As for any chance that Burton could change his mind to knock back Canterbury and remain at the Panthers next season, the playmaker was clear: No, I don’t think so.”

Penrith teammate and fellow Dubbo junior Isaah Yeo has been impressed with Burton’s ability to put his future aside to focus on helping Penrith win.

He revealed Panthers coach Ivan Cleary had noticed the playmaker struggling with all the contract talk, so he approached him to ease the tension.

“Ivan might have picked up on a little bit when it was all circulating and thought he (Matt) may have been a touch off for a day or two,” Yeo said.

“I think he spoke to him, but ever since then he has been tremendous for us.

“And before he was among the top 17, he was the one leading around the NSW Cup boys and training the house down.”

Matt Burton’s low-key try celebration with teammate Brian To’o. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Yeo couldn’t be happier to see Burton thriving on the NRL stage, even playing out of position in the centres.

“He has been outstanding for us,” he said.

“He is our depth in the halves, but he is just a natural footballer, and he fits in well anywhere.

“On the weekend they (Brisbane) really pinned us into a corner, and he had to make some really tough carries, and I thought he did that wonderfully.

“I’m sure he would much prefer to be in the halves and not making those carries, but he has been great for us.”

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