Matt Burton (HLF): CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

No CTR dual, no worries?

In 2022, the Amateurs advised avoiding Matt Burton until after his nightmare draw in the first 8 rounds was completed, and what would you know – he only averaged 41 in that span before we said to jump on and he exploded to a 57 average in his last 15 matches. So what do we think for 2023?

Well, with a settled 1, 6 and 7 combination, an improved Bulldogs forward pack and top gun hooker, the sky is the limit for Burton. In his games partnering Kyle Flanagan he averaged over 80% of the in play kicking, and once Flanagan relinquished the goal kicking in round 8 it was wheels up for Burton, who put the afterburners on and averaged over 15 points more than in the first 8 rounds.

The Bulldogs start 2023 with a pretty comfortable schedule, facing Manly who will be missing Turbo for their preseason, a new Storm team still figuring out their style, a Wests Tigers team that will still be developing combinations and a likely spoon bound Warriors. After that it gets a bit tougher, and there is no doubt that Burton performs better when he isn’t getting his ass kicked (average of 55.8 when he wins, or loses by less than 20), but we have faith that this Bulldogs side will keep it competitive or be winning more often than not in 2023 with their new recruits and having removed some dead wood.

So what is the best case scenario? Well, in short, 2020/21 Panthers halves Burton, who averaged 47.5 points per game in base stats (about 3 more than 2022, but only 1 more than post round 8 2022), pumping out 100 metres (70 in 2022) and 20 tackles (17 in 2022) per game, and cranking out about 6 points extra per game in attacking stats (only 2 per game more than post round 8, 2022 games).

In short, Burton was only 1 point in base and 2 points in attack behind his 2020/21 performance of a 62.5 halves average when he averaged 57 on the back end of 2022. You take that 1 extra missed tackle per game in 2022 and turn it into a tackle, and add the 2 points of attack, plus an extra try every game or two for the team worth of goals, and bing bang boom you have a 60+ average.

So what is the downside? In short, there isn’t really one. Wheels up bitches.

AMATEUR MARK

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