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Burton's rapid rise rewarded with Kangaroos berth

The recent rise of Matt Burton from The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup to Kangaroos tourist is one of the more remarkable stories to come from this year’s World Cup debutants, as the Dubbo 22-year-old prepares to don the green and gold for the upcoming tournament.

Although he made his NRL debut and represented NSW in Under 20s Origin back in 2019, Burton only made five more first grade appearances the following year.

He started the 2021 season in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup before returning to Penrith’s NRL side in Round Three in the unfamiliar position of centre.

From that point Burton never looked back, taking out the award for Dally M Centre of the Year and winning a maiden NRL Premiership before linking up with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the No.6 jersey for this season.

The Short Side with Luke Lewis | World Cup Squads

At his new club the recently named Kangaroo played his way into the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues starting 13 – scoring a try in his Origin debut – and finished the season strongly to earn the ultimate reward, a place in Mal Meninga’s Australian World Cup squad.

True Blue Luke Lewis, who was part of the World Cup-winning squad in 2013, is confident Burton will make an impact.

“In 2021 he started off in NSW Cup then ended up in first grade playing out in the centres, had a pretty good season and won a competition,” Lewis told

“Then he got his opportunity at the Bulldogs and played for NSW this year, had a couple of games there (in Origin) and now here he is running out in the green and gold for the Australian side in the World Cup.

"What a ride it has been for Matt Burton – keep a close eye on him."

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