The Bulldogs got a look at their future playmaker Matt Burton, after Canterbury’s 2022 signing started in the halves for Penrith last night in Leichhardt.
Unfortunately Burton didn’t quite deliver victory for Penrith when handed the reins at five-eighth for the Panthers as they lost 26-6 to the Wests Tigers.
Playing in place of Jarome Luai, who missed the game due to Origin duties, Burton had a chance to show Canterbury fans what he would be able to bring to the club next season after signing a three-year deal earlier this year.
It was a mixed performance with one try, two linebreaks, 118 metres form 10 runs and 19 tackles for Burton. His kicking game had its moments with high, swirling bombs clearly a favourite part of his arsenal. But it’s what the stats didn’t show that left him feeling most let down, including a drop-out that was out on the full, a wiped try due to knocking down Tigers star Daine Laurie and a few stray passes.
“It’s disappointing. We come here, we knew they were going to turn up but we just didn’t stick to our plan. What we spoke about all week we just went away from it and yeh, it’s just not good enough,” Burton told Nine after the game.
“It’s obviously a different position but it doesn’t mean I don’t stand up.
“There were too many times there where we just didn’t compete and I put my hand up for that. It just wasn’t good enough.”
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary agreed that Burton’s performance was not where he wanted it.
“He scored a great try but for the guy who kicks the ball the most he would be disappointed and he should be, but I don’t think Matt’s gone through anything but good games so far so he’ll be right,” Cleary said.
“We’ve certainly got a lot of faith in Matt, he’s one that’s had to change positions into a completely different position so he’ll be better for the run tonight.”
“The thing I was a little bit worried about coming into the game was going to be cohesion in attack,” Cleary said.
“I thought we were really brave, I thought we defended well throughout the 80 minutes but our end of sets were not good which means we couldn’t build any pressure which I think played into their hands a fair bit.”