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Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 10:03 UK

Burke's career is ended by injury

Matthew Burke
Burke is a hugely popular figure among Newcastle fans

Newcastle's Australian full-back Matt Burke has announced his retirement after failing to fully recover from a serious knee injury.

The 35-year-old, a World Cup winner in 1999, has been out for the last seven months with a torn cruciate ligament.

Burke said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Newcastle.

"I look back on my four seasons and hopefully say that I contributed to the team's performance and provided some enjoyment for the fans."

Burke won 81 caps for the Wallabies during a 10-year international career and his tally of 878 points was the fifth highest of all time when he retired from Test rugby in June 2004.

He joined the Falcons that year and notched 26 tries and a total of 430 points in his 81 games.


But he suffered his injury against Bath last October and has now accepted that his career is over.

"To have played week in, week out with what I thought was one of the best group of supporters of a club, gave me a great sense of pride, and I hoped to have repaid them with my commitment to the shirt," added Burke.

"Playing with some of the game's best talent certainly gave me motivation to continue my rugby and to keep contributing to the game.

"To have experienced the Premiership and the Heineken Cup, and the high standard of play, was a privilege to be part of."

Club chairman Dave Thompson said: "Matt will go down as one of the greatest Falcons of all time.

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Interview: Newcastle coach Steve Bates

"As well as being a sensational player who achieved incredibly high standards every time he took the field, the way he conducted himself behind the scenes should serve as an example to all professional players.

"It is quite rare to talk of a foreigner being regarded as a genuine Geordie sporting icon, but during his four seasons with us Matt most definitely achieved that status.

"He will now embark on the next chapter of his life with his family back in Australia, but he will forever be a Falcon."

Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates added: "I was fortunate enough to work with Matt this season before his injury, and it is not hard to see why he is held in such high esteem at the club.

"Even after suffering what must have been a devastating blow he remained an incredibly positive presence around the team."

see also
Knee injury ends Burke's season
24 Oct 07 |  English
Newcastle in Burke contract talks
07 Nov 07 |  Newcastle

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