Falcons keen for Burke to stay
November 7, 2007
Australian star Matt Burke is in talks with Newcastle about a new contract at Kingston Park.
The Wallabies' 1999 World Cup-winning full-back will not play again this season after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament.
But Falcons are keen to extend his stay on Tyneside into the 2008-09 campaign, with negotiations already under way.
Newcastle rugby director John Fletcher said: ``We have held a number of meetings with Matt in the past fortnight to decide what is the best way ahead for both parties.
``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 home to Australia in the near future, where he will begin the initial phase of his rehabilitation.
Fletcher added: ``We will then sit down and look at next season in more detail with all the relevant information, before hopefully reaching a positive conclusion.
``Matt is a truly outstanding individual 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 Newcastle in 2004, and has so far amassed 430 points for them in 81 games.
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont
Will Genia should lead the Wallabies against the Lions, Joe Tomane to win the final wing spot and Israel Folau at fullback, writes Greg Growden
"Has there ever been such a large disconnect between France's club teams and the international side?" Ian Moriarty weighs up the state of French rugby
"By carrying a Great Britain label to the Antipodes, and getting beaten by the Kiwis, they established a tradition which has lasted to this day." Huw Richards rewinds to 1888