Matt Burton has opened up on his desire to remain at Canterbury as he deals with the emotions of being named co-captain of the side.
Just a boy from Dubbo, Matt Burton will start the 2023 season not just an incumbent Blue and a Kangaroo, but with the 'c' next to his name on the team sheet each week.
He's joined by new recruit Reed Mahoney, with the pair boasting a combined 24 NRL games for the Bulldogs, however Burton has revealed the role was voted on by the players themselves, and not an incentive in his new deal.
“Definitely not (offered the captaincy), there was no talk about it at all,” Burton said.
“I only found out about it last week. We went on a camp and we put a few names down about who we thought should be captain.
“It was pretty crazy, they pulled me aside and told me I was captain. I couldn't believe it. It was pretty special to get that honour. It's obviously a great feeling to know your teammates have voted you as captain. It's pretty special.”
Plunged into leadership after just one season in his main position, Burton has excelled in his limited opportunities, but has a long way to go yet.
While it appeared half the NRL were after the five-eighth's signature as well as rival codes, however Burton revealed the Bulldogs were always his top priority.
“There was a lot of hype and talk but I never wanted to look at [other avenues],” he said in his first interview since re-signing.
“There was obviously a few clubs interested but once the Dogs wanted to lock me down, I didn't really bother looking.
“I told my manager that here is where I want to be. As soon as I got back from the World Cup, I put pen to paper. It's pretty exciting.”
There's a Penrith tinge at Canterbury at the moment with Viliame Kikau signing on for 2023 as well as Stephen Crichton for next season, and while Josh Mansour has been spotted in Belmore, there's one ex-Panther that was especially influential in Burton's decision.
“It (Cameron Ciraldo's signature) was pretty influential,” Burton said.
“Obviously I've worked with Ciro at Penrith and seen what he's done there,” he said.
“What he has brought to the club already has been outstanding. I'm looking forward to working with him again. I've seen the potential of the club and what they are building. I just wanted to be a part of it.”