Star Bulldog Matt Burton is reportedly set to wait until a full-time coach is implemented at Belmore before deciding on whether his future lies in a blue and white jersey.
Having crossed from the Panthers at the cessation of last season, the 22-year-old has taken his game to another level, going on to play a leading hand on debut in the Blues' 44-12 rout of Queensland in Origin II.
While the Dubbo-born product remains a contracted Dog until the cessation of the 2024 season, the final year of Burton's deal will act as an option for the versatile back.
With the one-time Origin representative free to test rival offers from November 1, veteran league scribe Phil Rothfield was of the opinion that Burton could command a seven-figure salary should his current campaign remain on course.
“The story is he is off-contract at the end of next year. It is an identical story to Cameron Munster in that in November he can start talking to other clubs and negotiating.
“I spoke to Dave Riolo today, who manages Burton and he is not ready to do a thing at the moment.
“He wants the boy to have a strong Origin III and keep winning for the Bulldogs and then look at it later."
Yet, while the status quo appears set to remain, Rothfield stated that Burton's future at Belmore beyond the end of 2023 would be contingent on the club hiring the right coach.
“The interesting thing he (Riolo) emphasised is that Matt Burton will not sign anything until he knows who will be coaching the Bulldogs next year," Rothfield continued.
“He made it very clear that the one reason Burton went to the Bulldogs was to be coached by Trent Barrett and while he has moved on from 'Baz’s dismissal, he would still like to know who is going to be in charge.”
With fellow 360 panelists in Paul Kent and James Hooper contending that Burton's worth was set to spike from the present figure of $500,000 to nigh-on $700,000 per season, Rothfield believed that the helmeted Pup could stand to earn far more.
“I think he is closer to $1 million,” Rothfield said.
“He is on about $500,000 now. Canterbury got him for unders. Way unders.”
With seasonal averages of more than 423 kick metres, 74 from runs and 16 tackles per game, Burton has proven to be a wonder in what has been a woeful Bulldogs' side, for the most part.
Add in centre-cum-halfback's ability to post 72 points from his 16 starts thus far, and it is clear that Burton's ability on both sides of the ball is commensurate with a player earning far more than half a million dollars each season.
Still, in the mind of former Bulldog, current player manager and fellow 360 pundit, Braith Anasta, should Burton wish to earn upwards of $1 million from 2024 onwards, the equation was simple.
“I’m talking for $1 million,” Anasta said.
“He is worth $700,000 to 8000,000 every day of the week. But to get to that $1 million stage you have got to bring a premiership.”
Burton will next earn a chance to bolster his price tag when Mick Potter's Pups face the Sharks at CommBank Stadium on Saturday afternoon.