Matt Burton open to NFL stint ‘down the track’, discusses what Bulldogs spine will look like in 2024

Bulldogs star Matt Burton has no immediate plans on joining the NFL but says a move to the States could happen “down the track” after his agent revealed back in 2022 that scouts had approached him to take part in the combine as a punter.

The 23-year-old is locked in at Canterbury until the end of the 2027 season and is the guy they hope to build around as they look to end their finals drought.

But Burton hasn’t ruled out a potential move to the NFL when his NRL career ends, with his booming boot already catching the eye of talent scouts who are impressed by his hang time and ability to belt the ball out of trouble.

Australian punters have done well in the NFL, with Mitch Wishnowsky getting ready to play for San Francisco in the NFC Conference Championship for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Australian punter Mitch Wishnowsky is one win away from a spot in the Super Bowl. Picture: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“Maybe down the track,” Burton told the Lets Trot podcast.

“You never know.

“It’d be a mad job to go over there, kick the footy and get paid a motza.

“I’m a bit young now and it’s a big move. I don’t know.”

Burton has the boot to make it in the NFL, and his agent David Riolo revealed scouts had noticed him.

“Look, that is not on our radar at this stage. He has been approached by scouts to do stuff like that (the NFL combine) and kick,” Riolo said on The Bye Round with James Graham back in 2022.

“He could do it tomorrow the way he kicks a ball, but he wants to play footy and he is only young and has goals.”

Burton’s towering kicks have resulted in rival fullbacks and wingers waking up in pools of sweat at night after getting flashbacks about some of his vicious spiral bombs, with the playmaker unleashing his lethal left foot after putting it away while at Penrith.

Matt Burton’s kicks have become a major weapon for the Bulldogs. Picture: NRL PhotosSource: Supplied

“We had a little house in Dubbo, there was a street, and I’d just go there after school putting up ‘torpees’ (torpedo bombs),” he said.

“If it didn’t land back in the street then it’d hit a car or land in someone else’s street.

“I’d just be nailing torpees for ages and that’s where it came along.

“Going to Penrith and playing in the centres, I didn’t really get the opportunity to put any up.

“Being in the halves, I got the opportunity to put them up. Hitting a couple in Origin, that sort of took off and everyone got behind it. That’s where the Burto bomb started.”

Stephen Crichton could be Canterbury’s new fullback. Picture: David SwiftSource: News Corp Australia

While his kicking game is impressive, Burton will need to do a lot more to help Canterbury bounce back following a disastrous 2023 in Cameron Ciraldo’s first year in charge.

While Burton and Reed Mahoney are locked in, the spine will look very different with the likes of Blake Taaffe and Stephen Crichton fighting for the fullback spot, while there are several options to play halfback.

“They’ve both been training the house down,” Burton said when asked who would play fullback in round 1.

“It comes down to ‘Ciro’ and who’s training the best in those positions.

“It’s obviously good having a lot of depth there in all those positions this year.”

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