Counting Down to the 2013 Season Kick Off
Saturday 6th April - Round 1
Source: The Daily Telegraph
IT'S about time someone at Parramatta got some good news - and yesterday it couldn't have happened to a better bloke.
As the Eels prepare for Saturday night's local derby against Penrith - a match that's being talked up as the early battle for the wooden spoon - Luke Burt was invited to one of Sydney's flashiest restaurants to accept one of the game's most prestigious individual honours.
In a field of all-round good guys that also included Luke Lewis, Kurt Gidley, Terry Campese, Joe Galuvao and Manu Vatuvei, it was Parramatta's 31-year-old golden boy who was crowned the 2012 Harvey Norman Women in League Favourite Son.
On stage, he choked up as he accepted the award.
"To get the award today is pretty humbling," he said. "I have always said that this week is about the ladies in league but to be here today, I tell you, it's pretty special."
Asked what his secret was to surviving 13 years without the slightest scandal damaging his reputation, Burt simply said being a decent bloke wasn't as hard as some young players would have you believe. But the proud father-of-three praised wife Madelin and mum Kerrie for shaping him into a man rugby league should be proud of.
"I don't want this to come out the wrong way but my mum and dad never had it easy and they worked hard to get what they had in life," he said.
"Dad was a roof tiler since he was 15 and Mum worked hard in offices all her life. They never really had the lucky break you need to get ahead in life. But as a child, me and my brother and sister had one of the best childhoods you could have dreamed of because their parenting was unbelievable."
Luke turned out okay, too.
Burt last week announced that this would be his final year in the game.
Asked what advice he'd give to young players starting out today, he said: "The first thing I would say is that it's going to be hard and you will have to work for it - but the rewards that come after that make it worth it.
"I have always been a huge believer that when I'm enjoying myself I play better football so that is the trick."
When Burt made his debut back in 1999, his mum's advice to the little blond-haired winger was simply: "Make sure you run."
Twelve years on, she said yesterday the little bloke had made her rugby league's proudest mum.
"He has done it in style," Kerrie said. "You always hope that they will get through without any problems in their life and he has proved to me what a wonderful kid he is. I know he's a man now, but he's still my boy - and I'm so proud of him."