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Burt to join Eels off-field staff in 2013

Record breaking winger Luke Burt will remain a one-club-man after agreeing to terms with the Parramatta Eels for the 2013 season and beyond.
Burt to join Eels off-field staff in 2013
by NRL

Record breaking winger Luke Burt will remain a one-club-man after agreeing to terms with the Parramatta Eels for the 2013 season and beyond.

The 31-year-old will become a full-time member of the Eels staff at the conclusion of this season, where he will work in the Club's Welfare and Education unit.

After making the decision to hang up his boots at season's end, Burt said he was proud to continue his involvement with a Club he's grown up with over the past 14 years.

Burt will retire as the Eels' all-time leading try-scorer and one of just eight players in Premiership history to pass 1700 career points.

"I've loved every minute playing for Parramatta and being part of this great Club, and I made the decision some time ago that this would be my last year," Burt said.

"Joining the full-time staff next year will be a new challenge for me and it's one I'm excited about.

"Helping the younger blokes coming through is something I've always enjoyed as a player, so to be concentrating on their education and welfare full-time is a great opportunity for me.

"I really believe the Club is heading in the right direction - we've got the players, coaches and staff we need and I'm just happy to be able to contribute to that. "

In a terrific career that began with a debut performance as a 17-year-old surfie from Redhead, Newcastle, in front of 104,583 fans in the double-header at the Olympic Stadium at Homebush in 1999, Burt has gone onto amass more than 250 games in the Blue and Gold.

But typical of his character that has seen him become one of the game's genuine role models on and off the field, Burt said it was the friendships forged during his playing days he cherishes most.

But he reserved special mention for his family, particularly his parents and wife Madelin, and the loyal Parramatta Eels supporters.

"My family and extended family have always been a huge support throughout my career, as have plenty of my mates outside of football," Burt said.

"I wouldn't be here if my mum (Kerrie) and dad (Dave) didn't spend hours each week driving me from Newcastle to Parra three times a week after they finished work so I could train and play in the juniors.

"Their driving didn't stop there - they've continued driving up and down the F3 to make each and every game I've played in over the past 14 years. Mum, Dad, my sister Becky and my brother Matt have been the secure base that have enabled me to chase and realise my dreams."

"My wife Madelin, I can't say enough about how important she has been in my career. For the past 13 years Maddi has put up with the highs and lows I've been through and has always been extremely supportive and someone I've been able to rely on.

"A very important person in my life, on and off the field, Maddi has also given me 3 beautiful children (Sophie 7, Lincoln 4, Evie 3 months) who have played a huge role in helping dad take his mind off football in the stressful times. I truly believe these four people have had a huge impact on my career and have made me a better person."

"And I really want to thank every Eels supporter out there and to let them know how important their support has been to me over the years. This is evidenced by the many cards, photos and letters of support I have received over the years (all of which I have kept). We have the most passionate fans in the NRL and it's a great feeling to know they're always behind me and the boys."

Eels Chief Executive Bob Bentley said while the Eels would lose one of its most valuable players on the field, the Club's staff would gain one of the game's genuine role models as it continues to execute its ongoing strategic plan.

"Luke Burt will rightly go down as one of this Club's great players and favourite sons," Bentley said.

"He's developed himself into one of the game's great point-scorers and to build a resume like his takes more than just talent - his professionalism and work ethic has always been second to none.

"It's not hard to see that these qualities will see him become a very valuable member of staff, and his experience as a player is crucial to the success of the role he'll be taking up.

"I know there'll be a lot of Parra fans out there who will be disappointed Luke won't be running out with the team in 2013, but they can be safe in the knowledge that one of our Club's legends will have a guiding hand in the development of our talented youngsters moving forward."

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