The 28-year-old from Redhead Beach near Newcastle, who is the highest point-scorer remaining in the NRL with 1348 points, has agreed to extend his commitment to the Eels to the end of the 2012 season.
His debut match was as a 17-year-old off the bench in the rugby league’s first night at the Olympic Stadium, the double header of 1999 when the Eels beat St George Illawarra. Now a father of two, this Sunday the club will honour his double-century milestone by branding it Luke Burt Family Day and allowing children to onto the playing field after the match.
“I really didn’t want to ever play for any other club so I’m relieved and really excited that it has all been sorted out,” said Burt. “It’s also an honour to achieve 200 games in first grade for the one club and I just hope I can celebrate with a victory.”
Eels coach Daniel Anderson, who was at the helm of the Eels reserve grade in 1998 when Luke was elevated from junior reps mid-season having just past his 17th birthday, described Burt as, “a complete professional throughout his whole career”.
“He’s a natural rugby league footballer who showed tremendous skills and maturity when he came through the ranks and to celebrate 200 games is a worthy milestone for him. His team-mates know he is a player they can count on and he is a highly respected leader around this club.”
While he has not achieved the representative status of his fellow double-centurions and close mates Nathan Hindmarsh and Nathan Cayless – who last weekend played their 200th first grade match together – Burt personifies what the Pirtek Eels are all about, said CEO Paul Osborne.
“He’s been a wonderful player and role model; the type of person we want at our club,” said Osborne.
“When I first arrived at the club there was some talk around that he wasn’t part of our plans in the future. But what I saw last year from him showed he is one of our best players and his professional attitude this season has further proved that. It’s great that he has committed to the Eels for life.”