Matthew Burke was one of the greatest fullbacks of all time, a superb athlete with devastating pace, bruising defence, a flawless kicking game and safe hands under the high ball. A match winner time and time again. A solid goal kicking and try scoring standout performer. A role model for all. One with class, intelligence and verve.
Born in Sydney on the 26th March 1973 Matt was educated at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill. Matt ran the 100 metres in 10.9 seconds, and took 35 wickets in the GPS cricket competition. He played all his junior rugby for Eastwood.
Matt Burke toured the UK with the unbeaten 1990-91 Australian Schoolboys. On returning from the tour Matt joined Eastwood Rugby Club, being selected in 1st Grade aged 18 years. He commenced his study in Human Movement at the Australian Catholic University.
Matt played an incredible 115 times for the Waratahs, seventy-nine of those in the Super 12 competition, winning The Sydney Morning Herald Waratah Player of the Year.
Matt Burke played his first Test against France in Paris in 1993. A valuable member of the winning World Cup team of 1999, he retired from international rugby in Australia 2004 with a massive 81 Tests for Australia.
His kicking was confident, consistent, rhythmic and efficient. His eight penalty goals against South Africa in 1999 (World Cup) are a record for Australia .
Some 878 Test points for Australia is second only to Michael Lynagh.
Matthew accepted a contract with an English premiership team, the Newcastle Falcons, at age thirty-one. He was granted British Citizenship, therefore his dual citizenship means he was no longer regarded as a foreign player in the English Competition.
HONOURS, achieved by Matt C.Burke;-
. Holds 22 Australian Rugby records and 7 International records.
Sixth highest international points scorer of all time at his retirement (now joint sixth with Percy Montgomery)
Eastwood Rugby Club (1990-2004)
World XV Rugby Team (2006)
NSW Waratahs (1990-2004)
Rugby Sevens Australia (1993)
Australian Wallabies (1993-2004)
Rugby World Cup Australia) (1995, 1999 winners), (2003 runners-up)
PM's XV (1999, 2000-2002)
Barbarians (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005)
Newcastle Falcons (2004-2007)
Wallaby of the Year (1996)
Sydney Morning Herald Player of the Year (1996-1998)
Twentieth most capped international of all time at the time of his retirement.
Second-highest Super 12 scorer of all time (behind Andrew Mehrtens)
Second-highest scorer of all time in the Rugby Union Tri Nations (behind Mehrtens)