Burton won the NRL Premiership with the Panthers last year before his move to the Bulldogs, and will look to rekindle his on-field chemistry with Luai and Brian To’o.
“I remember most of that week, Jimmy was going to the judiciary, ‘Romy’ was injured, and it was a case of, ‘Who is next?‘” Cleary told the Herald at the Blues’ Scarborough Beach media session on Monday.
“I remember speaking to dad [coach Ivan Cleary] and he said, ‘Were going to play Burto’. Instantly I was pumped because I knew it was a really good opportunity for him. ‘Critta’ [Stephen Crichton] and Spencer [Leniu] also debuted that night.
“Everyone knew there was something special about Burto, he got his opportunity unexpectedly and did a really good job. I’m looking forward to re-uniting with him again.”
There has been plenty of talk about Burton being an extra kicking option to help take the pressure off Cleary and Luai. But Cleary pointed out it could be hard for him to unleash his lethal left boot in the centres.
“Burton has got the biggest boot I’ve seen,” Cleary said. “He’s got a lot of power – you should see his golf swing as well, he hits them a mile.”
Burton was thrilled to link with so many of his former premiership clubmates, but said, “My Bulldogs teammates have got me to where I am today”.
Snubbed Blue and fellow Dog Josh Addo-Carr was the first person to congratulate Burton on his call-up late on Sunday, while head of football Phil Gould told Burton: “You deserve this, you’ve put in the hard work, just play your footy and do your best.”
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