Matt Burton may have been a surprise selection at centre for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues but team advisor Greg Alexander is backing the debutant to make a successful transition to the State of Origin arena tonight.
The Blues today completed their preparations for Game Two of the series at Optus Stadium in Perth with a team walk and a catch-and-pass drill. Alexander said they were ready to go after a good week which saw them start camp at Scarborough before switching to Perth to cap things off.
The team for Game Two includes two new faces in Siosifa Talakai, who will start from the bench, and Burton, who now plays five-eighth for Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs but will reprise his role of centre that he filled last year for the premiership-winning Penrith Panthers.
Burton tasted success playing Under 20s for NSW in 2019 and is ready to make another impact after slotting into the team seamlessly this week; his towering bombs at training have been something else to watch.
“A lot of people have been talking about his kicking game, but Matt Burton is an unflappable young player and he doesn’t have any weaknesses in his game,” Alexander said.
“I guess when you’re talking about Origin players they need to be good defensively, they need to be dangerous in attack and they need to have a lot of things in their game; and Matt Burton certainly has got that.
“We’re talking about Matt Burton the centre now because that’s where he’s going to play. Last year he was one of the two Dally M centres and it’s a rare thing to be able to hit a hole like Matt Burton does but that’s just one part of his game.
“He’s a complete footballer so that’s what they’d be saying when he’s suited to Origin.”