NRL Rd 5 - Eels v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Matt Burton of the Panthers is tackled during the round five NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Penrith Panthers at Bankwest Stadium on June 12, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Penrith young gun Matt Burton has signed with the Bulldogs for 2022 and 2023 with a player option for a potential third season, as first reported by The Daily Telegraph.

Burton adds to Roosters half Kyle Flanagan, Raiders winger Nick Cotric, Sea Eagles forward Corey Waddell and former teammate Jacker Hetherington in joining Trent Barrett’s side.

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Bulldogs Chief Executive Andrew Hill was thrilled to acquire the youngster at the end of next season.

“Having someone of Matt’s ability want to be part of what we are building here at Belmore is exciting for everyone involved at the club and all our members and fans,” he told the club website.

“Matt is a great talent and someone that was highly sought after, so we are delighted that he has chosen to join our club and be part of what we believe to be a new beginning for the Bulldogs.

“With a new coaching staff that is working extremely hard with our players this pre-season and the addition of several new faces we believe that Matt’s signing for 2022 is another massive step forward for this club.”

The 20-year-old is set to pair up with Flanagan and take on the five-eighth role in 12 months time when his contract with Penrith expires.

The Panthers confirmed his exit in a statement on Wednesday morning.

“While we’re disappointed with this outcome, it’s important we respect Matt’s decision,” Panthers General Manager of Rugby League Matt Cameron said.

“He gave particular consideration to a contract extension at Panthers before opting to continue his career at another club.

“That said, Matt remains fully committed to Panthers for the upcoming season and we’re excited to see what the team will achieve in 2021.”

Burton told Ivan Cleary and Cronulla, who were also keen on his services, of his decision to sign with the Bulldogs on Tuesday.

Both Canterbury and Penrith fans will wait to see if Burton requests an immediate release to play under Barrett for the 2021 season, potentially extending his stay to four years at Belmore.


  1. Why is it a stupid move?

    More money and pretty much a guaranteed starting spot in the halves.

    He wouldn’t get the starting spot in the halves at Panthers and probably wouldn’t get a bench spot either.

    Smart move.

  2. Look at the positions on the table. Also, Flannagan is not an experienced halve, and Nathan defecates on him from a great height. Also, the panthers were working on getting Burton a spot, on the run on side. Stupid move.

  3. Great move for young Burton and the doggies. Completely disagree with Panthers18. He wasn’t going to get a spot in the match day 17 most weeks, wasn’t going to get get a chance of leading a team, making state of origin or representing his country if he stayed.
    If Panthers18 was right about the Panthers trying to find him a spot it would’ve resulted in him having to play out of position.

    Yes a huge negative will be going from the top team in the comp to one of the worst but, It’s a great challenge to take on and shows how determined he is to work hard and be successful.

    As for the bulldogs they have done great to get Flanagan and Burton both have huge potential plus the Cotric signing was nice.
    If the Roosters are under pressure to get under the cap like reports suggest I’d really like to see the Dogs throw an offer at Angus Crichton.

    Roosters have second row options so he could be replaced, but for the doggies he would be a huge addition to an edge. He played well for NSW in SOO and he’s still young only 24

  4. Totally agree with warriorsgreat. Burton has every right to further his career at the bulldogs who look like they will be big improvers over the next few years with their good signings. As for panthers18 its just sour grapes

  5. I don’t think the move has anything to do with playing in the starting halves at the Bulldogs & everything to do with money. As per usual!
    If the Panthers had had an independent backer, like the Roosters, South’s. Or a bid backer Like West Leagues at Newcastle Burton would be happy to stay.
    A great example of what I’m saying are the Melbourne hookers. Happy to stay around , even when not guaranteed a first grade spot, or to play out of position. Why? Obviously they’re getting a lot of money to do so!
    If you don’t think whatever offer the Bulldogs made, also came with an extra few hundred thousand from their ‘ Sausage ‘ backer, you’re dreaming!

  6. Another poor move by the Panthers, was to let young Daine Laurie sign with the Tigers . He could have been a great reserve half , or fullback. Wouldn’t have taken a lot to keep him there either!
    Really bad job done by the hierarchy at Penrith yet again.
    Just waiting for Crichton to sign with the Roosters now .
    Penrith should look at any good players that they could get from the Bulldogs or Roosters now. Say, you can have Burton next season, if we can get a certain player in return. Same with Crichton, if he signs with the Roosters.
    Get whatever you can from losing your players & who know? The players they get in return may turn out to be great !

  7. Wow, EastOfDivide, you really like to stick the boot in, don’t you? With the, reported salary that Burton was offered, there is no way the Panthers can compete with that. Crichton, apparently, had a handshake deal to stay at the Panthers, if that is true, and he signs elsewhere, that is a blight on him. I believe the Panthers should be compensated for developing other players, so the lazy clubs, who do not develop their own juniors, can pay.

  8. I believe they should be compensated also. That’s not going to happen . As Penrith don’t count , as far as the NRL is concerned. They don’t carry enough weight financially.
    It was just as I said. The Sausage King , added extra , on top of whatever the Bulldogs offered. Purely going for the money!!!!!!!!
    Not putting the boot in. Would you like a list of the first graders that have left over the past four years? It’s incredible, how pathetic the club has been with player retention & with buying any players. I know a lot of it has to do with just lacking a huge separate corporate backer.
    How do they not keep Daine Laurie? When Burton’s going .
    If Crichton takes a big offer from the Roosters. That offer will also have a huge separate payment from a Roosters corporate backer.
    So again, let them go now, in return for a young player or 2 of their choice. It’s the smart thing to do!
    If you don’t agree with that? An already much worse looking backline & reserves bench , is going to have who in it?????
    They sure should give Whare the shove. He’s hopeless & slow!!!
    Now, there’s also no way that they don’t have a motza to spend , with all the players that have left. Is the Brisbane centre Staggs available? Throw whatever they need to , to get him to Penrith.

  9. Your second comment was sticking the boot in. I actually agree with the player swap, Penrith’s choice. Burton is making a huge mistake, and Barrett will fail.

  10. Another way Penrith could get some other decent replacement players.
    Target the other not financially well off clubs. Who’s Manly, St.George, West’s, Cronulla, Parramatta, Canberra, North Queensland got, that Penrith would like to have at their club. Use that extra money now available at Penrith to poach players from elsewhere, for a change! 👍

  11. Well that leaves them with just about zero centres who have experience, if Crichton goes. When all of your own juniors are being picked off by other clubs when they get to first grade level.
    You’d rather have the club have no decent centres? That assures them of some more years at the bottom of the competition.
    It would be nice to use your own juniors. If so many of them keep leaving, it makes that all but impossible to do.
    Didn’t know that about Staggs. Pity!

  12. By the way Panthers 18.
    You said that you’d be fine with player swap deals. Then you’d rather use their own juniors? No difference between getting players from player swap deals, to poaching some other clubs players for a change.

  13. League Fan 75, yes, in a way it is sour grapes. The Panthers spends time, and money, on developing players, for other clubs, who are lazy to develop their own. Time for the NRL to act. It is that simple.

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