Phil Gould has weighed in on the ugly Matt Burton saga as Trent Barrett and Nathan Cleary exchange words over the phone. READ WHAT WAS SAID
Phil Gould has weighed in on the ugly Matt Burton saga as Trent Barrett and Nathan Cleary exchange words over the phone. READ WHAT WAS SAID

Barrett v Cleary: Phone call ignites Burton saga

Trent Barrett has let it be known to Ivan Cleary in no uncertain terms that he now works for Canterbury and not Penrith as the stand-off over promising youngster Matt Burton becomes increasingly hostile.

Cleary put a call into Barrett this week after The Daily Telegraph broke the story about Burton wanting out of Penrith on Tuesday.

Cleary is said to have warned his former assistant coach Barrett and the Bulldogs to back off.

Sources have revealed that while the conversation did not get heated Barrett certainly held his ground up against his former boss, stating his case why he thinks it's in everyone's best interests to let Burton go now.

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Barrett does not want to get into a public slanging match with Cleary and so would not comment when contacted to clarify the conversation on Wednesday.

But rest assured at the core of Barrett's concerns is that he doesn't want to see the soon-to-be 21-year-old Burton waste another year of his career with limited to no chance of playing NRL given he is stuck behind Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai.

Of course Burton has signed with the Bulldogs from 2022 for three seasons but wants out now because he knows he's little chance of winning a top grade spot this season outside of Origin.

Canterbury Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett. Picture supplied
Canterbury Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett. Picture supplied

All Burton ever wanted to do was come to Sydney to crack the NRL, but the former Dubbo junior is fast learning there are more games at play than what transpires on the field.

Another potential casualty in all this is young Bulldog Jake Averillo who is in danger of becoming collateral damage if Burton is released.

Averillo has basically trained the entire summer preparing to wear the No.6 jumper at the Bulldogs this season but will have to take a back seat if Burton arrives.

 

 

 

There is little doubt other clubs would come chasing Averillo if he becomes available which could spark another round of musical chairs.

That is why the Bulldogs are pushing to get this sorted out sooner rather than later.

And while most of the time it's the players who wear the wrath of the fans in situations like this when deals are not being honoured, in this situation even former Penrith general manager Phil Gould has weighed in on social media.

 

 

Gould not only said it would be "detrimental" to Burton's development but also explained that a "kind gesture now means you could re-sign him years later".

Gould also pointed out that the Panthers had "moved players who were on contract" and that they "can't have it both ways".

Players the Panthers have released in recent months with time running on their contracts include Jack Hetherington, Dean Whare, Daine Laurie and Zane Tetevano, while Josh Mansour was basically told to go after the grand final even though he had time on his existing deal.

Yet for some reason the Panthers aren't budging on Burton.

Burton was apparently told he would be playing for a centre spot this year but hasn't trained to play there all pre-season.

 

 

As for Penrith reportedly asking for Dylan Napa as a potential trade for Burton's release, that was never going to happen for two very significant reasons.

The Panthers apparently wanted the Dogs to carry the remainder of Napa's $650,000-a-season deal on their cap which is just ludicrous to even suggest.

On top of that, the Bulldogs can hardly afford to let Napa go with Luke Thompson suspended for the first month of the season.

In positive news for the Panthers new co-captain Isaah Yeo has agreed to terms with the club with his deal set to be announced within 48 hours.

Panthers officials are also confident star centre Stephen Crichton and dynamic five-eighth Jarome Luai are also close to securing their futures at the club.

 

Originally published as Barrett v Cleary: Phone call ignites Burton saga


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