Panthers coach Ivan Cleary officially killed off any hopes Canterbury had of luring Matt Burton to Belmore in 2021 and declared: β€˜β€˜It will be best for him in the long run he stays with us another 12 months.”

On the same day Penrith announced a two-year extension for Spencer Leniu, who turned down big-money offers from Canterbury and St George Illawarra, Cleary said there would be no early mark for Burton, despite repeated requests from the Bulldogs. Canterbury have signed Burton for 2022, but kept a spot open on their roster in the hope the Panthers would cut him loose.

Hands off ... Matt Burton at training this week.

Hands off … Matt Burton at training this week.Credit:Panthers

Daine Laurie could yet be granted a release from Penrith to join the Wests Tigers, provided the Tigers are prepared to take Josh Mansour off their hands as well, while Stephen Crichton is no closer to sorting out his own future as he holds out hope for a deal worth more than $600,000 a year.

While Cleary refused to be drawn on the futures of Laurie, Mansour and Crichton, he did want it known Burton would not get a leave pass – and was a chance to make the temporary shift to the centres.

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