Aussie Fullback eager to take in Kingston Park atmosphere on Friday
Falcons Legend Matt Burke is looking forward to making a return to the Kingston Park pitch this weekend as he lines up as part of the stellar line-up assembled for Friday evening’s Falcons Legends game.
Joining the likes of Gary Armstrong, Tom May, Jamie Noon and Hugh Vyvyan to play a game and raise funds for the Wooden Spoon Foundation and the Falcons Community Foundation, it is an opportunity that appealed to Burke since its announcement in August 2014.
“When I heard about the event at Kingston Park I thought how good would this be? I literally haven’t played a game of rugby since injuring my knee at the end of 2007, so I am treating this game as a nice way to finish up at KP, “There is only one stipulation I intend not to make a tackle and not to get tackled!”
It also allows me to reacquaint with the legions of fans at KP, the ones who turned up week in week out to support and made my time at Newcastle so enjoyable. It also gives the chance for the North East to get to again say hello to the hero’s of yesteryear and help them relive some unfulfilled memories.”
In a four season career in the North East, the 81 caps Wallaby wowed the Falcons crowd with some virtuoso performances and cemented himself as one of the players considered to be a club all time great.
The appreciation went both ways with the support received from the terrace making its mark on the Australian.
“My fondest memories of playing in Newcastle are the friends I was able to make at the back end of my career. I still saw it as a challenge, to still play good rugby and give back to my team mates and the fans and I remember the south stand chanting Burkey’s a Geordie! That made me smile.”
“My time at Newcastle was about enjoying my rugby and hopefully that rubbed off on everyone else. I hope that for all my time playing at the Falcons I was able to leave some kind of legacy at the club.”
With the match kicking off a massive week for the sport in the region, as St James’ Park hosts three pool games, including the crucial South Africa v Scotland and Scotland v Samoa, Burke is confident the city will shine in its moment in the spotlight.
“I’ve played in three Rugby World Cups, in South Africa, Wales and at home in Australia and there’s no doubting Newcastle will succeed in hosting it’s matches, as it is a good town with good people who love sport.”
“Having the biggest team in world rugby at St James’ Park helps, but also having some minnows that the local crowd will get behind and support as well will make it a great job.”