Burke offered a further season

Newcastle Falcons have announced negotiations with star full-back Matthew Burke about extending his stay at Kingston Park beyond this season.

The Australian will miss the rest of this season after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament, but rather than drawing a line under his glittering career the Wallaby legend has been in talks with the club about a new deal for the 2008/9 Guinness Premiership campaign.

“We have held a number of meetings with Matt in the past fortnight to decide what is the best way ahead for both parties,” said Falcons Director of Rugby John Fletcher.

“His current contract with the club is up at the end of this season, but there is a massive determination on our part to retain his services.

“Before suffering his injury Matt was playing some of the best rugby of his career, and even after what was a devastating blow he has remained an extremely positive presence around the team.

“He is a player who still falls firmly into the world class bracket, and clearly when there is the opportunity to keep such a talent at the club we are keen to make it happen.

“There is nothing concrete in place yet for next season, but what we have seen during our initial meetings with Matt is a commitment from him to look seriously at the option of staying for another season.”

Burke will fly back to Australia for three months to undergo a knee reconstruction and to begin his rehabilitation in familiar surroundings. Once he is back, the negotiations will begin in earnest.

“We will then sit down and look at next season in more detail with all the relevant information, before hopefully reaching a positive conclusion,” continued Fletcher.

“Matt is a truly outstanding individual, a sporting icon in Newcastle and remains very much part of this club even during his spell on the sidelines. The club has shown a massive determination to extend his stay for next season, and our talks continue to progress well.”

Burke joined the Falcons back in the summer of 2004, scoring 430 points in his 81 competitive games including 26 tries.

Capped 81 times by the Wallabies, the 1999 World Cup winner remains the second-highest points scorer in Australian test history.

 

365 Digital

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