NRL Rd 1 - Cowboys v Bulldogs
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 13: Matt Burton of the Bulldogs speaks to the media before the start of the round one NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Qld Country Bank Stadium, on March 13, 2022, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Canterbury Bulldogs star half and NSW Blues Origin debutant to be Matt Burton has reportedly informed the club he does not intend to take up a player option in his contract for 2024.

Signed to a two-year deal with a third year in his favour by the struggling Belmore-based club, Burton has been among the club's best so far in 2022.

Despite the blue and white racking up plenty of losses, the half's form has been good enough to be selected in the centres for the Blues on Sunday where he will link up with a host of ex-Penrith Panther teammates in sky blue.

Canterbury's director of football Phil Gould has previously admitted on the record that the early signing of Burton - before a ball was kicked in 2021 - saw the club land him at a price well below market value.

That means the club would likely have needed to renegotiate his contract for 2024 at any rate, however, The Daily Telegraph are reporting that at this stage he has no intention to take up his option.

That means he is technically set to be off-contract at the end of the 2023 season and can negotiate and field offers from rival clubs from November 1 this year.

Burton has spoken out about the prospects of Cameron Ciraldo joining the Bulldogs though.

He is close to the assistant coach from his time at Penrith, and Ciraldo is known to be in a two-way tug of war between the Tigers and Bulldogs.

“I personally haven’t heard anything about him coming to Belmore so we will have to wait and see what happens. He’d be great at Canterbury,” Burton told the publication.

“Ciro is an awesome coach. He’s a really smart guy, he’s got a great football brain. He is also a really good communicator, the way he gets his point across and the way he addresses things is clear, that makes it easy to know exactly what your job is.

“I think the best thing about his coaching style is how personal he is with the players.

“He’ll come up to you after training and let you know how you’re going and what areas you need to work on and improve. He can be very meticulous.”

Should Ciraldo land at Belmore, it may sway Burton to at the very least renegotiate with Canterbury for his next deal.

Penrith have made it clear they would be open to Burton returning to the club in the future however should he wish to abandon Penrith, while his kicking game and rating as one of the best young halves in the game would likely have plenty of clubs banging down his door.


  1. If Burton (or any player with a PO for 2024) has to inform the club before November 1 2023 that he is not taking up the PO, is that not a fault in the system?

    I’d imagine that the player would like to explore his options AFTER November 1, and see how the land lies, then let the club know his decision midway through 2023, after he has seen how the club is travelling, who has been signed for 2024, and who is sitting in the coach’s seat.

    Seems unfortunate to make him decide when he’s been there only one season with another 12 months on his contract, before the PO kicks in.

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