Coach’s high praise for Origin hopeful

Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo says “the sky’s the limit” for Matt Burton after the five-eighth sent Blues selectors an emphatic message with a dominant second half to lead his side to a thumping win over the Dragons.

Ciraldo said after the Wests Tigers game earlier this year that Burton could eliminate all doubt over his possible return to the NSW side if he played his best footy, and he’s done that with four tries in his past three games.

coach’s high praise for origin hopeful

Coach’s high praise for Origin hopeful

“He’s going a lot better, but the sky’s the limit for him,” Ciraldo said following the win over the Dragons.

“If he puts it all together, this is not going to be a debate about if he’s going to be in the team.

“He’s done a fair bit the last couple of weeks to put himself in the frame for that team, and if he gets an opportunity then I’m sure he’ll grab it with both hands.”

Burton, 24, played two games at centre in the 2022 series and is firmly in the mix to win back a starting spot, either in the outside backs or at five-eighth with the Blues losing playmakers left, right and centre.

Mitch Moses, Nathan Cleary, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker are all unavailable in the halves, while Tom Trbojevic, Bradman Best and Kotoni Staggs were in the mix to play left centre before they got hurt.

coach’s high praise for origin hopeful

“I haven’t really thought too much about it. I’ve just been focusing on playing hard here and playing hard for the boys. If that happens then I’ll be stoked,” he said.

“Having that experience in the past helps, and I feel like I’m more mature now. I feel like I’m definitely ready.

“I don’t listen to the outside noise. I just focus on what I can do to help the boys here, and hopefully good things come off the back of it.”

Burton’s versatility could also see him picked as the bench utility – a role he’s happy to play – with new coach Michael Maguire set to make some big changes to the squad.

“I’d be happy to play anywhere. That versatility helps, but I’m just hoping I can get that call,” Burton said.

“I’ve had a lot of experience at (left centre) in previous years so it’s second nature to me. I’d be happy to play anywhere.”

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