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.
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.”
Confirmed: Burton has told Panthers he is leaving at end of 21 to join Dogs
— Brent Read (@brentread_7) November 24, 2020
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.