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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Burke ready for challenge
Matt Burke
Burke played last cap for Australia against South Africa last week
New Falcons signing Matt Burke says he is desperate to make his mark for Newcastle, as he confirmed his retirement from international rugby.

The full-back, who has earned 81 caps for Australia, has signed a two-year deal with the Falcons.

And Burke insists he is focused on club rugby despite speculation he could return for the Wallabies in the autumn.

"I want the Newcastle fans to know I am here to win and to enjoy playing for their club," he said.

"I'm aware of the history and the traditions of Newcastle, and the fact they won the Powergen Cup and qualified for Europe certainly influenced my decision to come here.

"I am the new boy in the dressing room but I have no doubt I will fit in well and there are quality players at the club.

My ties with Australia are at an end as far as I am concerned
Matt Burke

"Playing with the likes of Johnny Wilkinson and Colin Charvis will be a fantastic experience."

The 31-year-old, who made his international debut in 1993, has had a glittering career with the New South Wales Waratahs and is the leading points scorer in Super 12 history.

However he believes that a move to the Zurich Premiership is not a step down.

"In club rugby here there are more games than in the Super 12 and the season is also longer and is more mentally and physically demanding," he said.

Burke is the second highest points scorer of all time for Australia with 888 points and played his final game for the Wallabies as a substitute in the Tri-Nations decider against South Africa.

He had been linked with possible return for Australia when they tour Europe in November but Burke has again denied the claims.

"My ties with Australia are at an end as far as I am concerned," he insisted.

"If you're asking if I expect to be involved in November, the answer is no, full stop."

Falcons sign Burke
17 Jun 04  |  English
Wilkinson stars with boot
28 Aug 04  |  English
Falcons inspire Charvis
31 Jul 04  |  English

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