Legend calls for Blues to name 15-game bolter

Rugby league great Peter Sterling admits he wouldn’t be surprised if Blues coach Brad Fittler selects young gun Matt Burton for next month’s series opener.

Burton has only played 15 first-grade games to date, however the young Panther is in hot form having come off a hat-trick performance on the weekend against South Sydney.

The 21-year-old, who will move into the halves next season with the Bulldogs, has scored eight tries through nine games this season playing at centre, with Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai the club’s first-choice halves.

While Storm star Ryan Papenhuyzen has been touted as a potential No.14 for the Blues, his injury woes are likely to deny him an Origin debut next month, which has now opened the door for Burton, according to Sterling.

The Parramatta Eels great believes Burton’s versatility to play anywhere in the backline would prove to be an attractive option for Fittler’s interchange.

“He’s in the conversation Matt Burton,” Sterling told Wide World of Sports’ Sterlo’s Wrap.

“This is a young man who wasn’t really a part of the Panthers’ 17 early on but got an opportunity through injury… but if you do pick him as a utility player, you’ve got everywhere covered.

“He can play anywhere in the backline and he plays like a back-rower as well.

“He’s in the conversation, I would think because he’s a footballer.

“He was always going to play Origin, he’s an Origin player. I think we’ve seen that early on. But it might come a lot earlier than expected.

“He has established himself as a regular first-grader and I don’t think he will be removed from this Penrith starting team.”

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