Nathan Cleary’s absence as the Panthers half-back in tonight’s big final rematch will open an intriguing opportunity for young pistol Matt Burton to show his worth.
Burton’s name has been at the center of a standoff between the Panthers and his future club the Bulldogs, since the 21-year-old agreed to move to Canterbury under the reins of new coach Trent Barrett.
Burton was one of Barrett’s first signings, agreeing to travel to Belmore for the 2022 season. But with his path to freshman football this season blocked by Cleary, Jarome Luai and Tyrone May at the Panthers, he started. the season in reserve category.
Arthur Laundy, major Bulldogs sponsor, said Penrith “wasn’t thinking of the boy,” begging the club to grant Burton early release to the Dogs, but the Panthers are holding on.
But tonight’s big final rematch will be Burton’s first chance to show off his growth since making his debut early last season and turn heads in the process.
An impressive display could see the youngster being in favor as Pernith parted ways ahead of his departure for Canterbury.
Burton has only played six freshman games in total during his thriving career.