Bulldog reunion on the Coast
When Aiden Sezer was growing up at East Hills in the Bankstown area of Sydney, he knew plenty about the gun young forward playing for nearby Revesby Heights who was a year younger than him but was almost unstoppable on the field.
When Sezer was 17 and Burr 16 they joined forces in the Bulldogs’ S. G. Ball (under-17s) side that won the competition. The side was coached by Canterbury’s former Kiwi winger Jason Williams.
The following season, they were elevated to the under-20s despite Burr not turning 17 until after the season had ended. Sezer was a stand-out in the Toyota Cup, finishing as the competition’s top points-scorer and being chosen in the team of the year (along with current teammate Kalifa Faifai Loa who was with the Dragons) and was chosen in the Junior Kangaroos but had to withdraw because of injury.
Burr made the Australian Schoolboys side that toured England at the end of the 2010 season, his tour captain being Dogs forwards partner Paul Carter. The three looked destined for long successful careers with the Bulldogs but, after season 2011 was a write-off for Sezer because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury, he became a Titans first grader in 2012 while Burr and Carter remained un limited aged football before progressing to NSW Cup (reserve grade) but were still waiting for an NRL call up.
Two years on, there is a Bulldogs reunion on the Gold Coast and Sezer and Carter have no doubt Burr will become the third of them to become an exciting NRL regular with the Titans.
Burr played one top grade game with the Dogs, in the second last round of 2013, but at age 21 when he was signed by Titans coach John Cartwright mid-season this year (he turned 22 at the end of September), he felt he needed a change to achieve his NRL dreams and he wants to use the success of his two mates here as motivation.
“With the retirement of back-rowers Mark Minichiello and Ashley Harrison I think there is better opportunity here than at Canterbury where there is a lot of depth in the back row,” said Burr who arrived on the Coast last Thursday and has impressed with his fitness and attitude in his first two days of training at The Southport School.
“Obviously having Aidan and Paul here was a factor. I’m living at Aidan’s at the moment and he’s been showing me around. It’s good to have familiar faces and obviously their success here gives me extra incentive.”
The form-line from the 2010 Toyota Cup finals is relevant at the Titans. The team that knocked the Bulldogs out in the preliminary final, the Warriors who went on to win the competition, included with 2015 Titans Matt Robinson and Mark Ioane in the side.
“Lockie bring plenty of talent and spark, power and strength and offloads,” said Carter, the Titans rookie of the year in 2014. “He has good attacking ability but is also hard working in defence.”
Sezer regards Burr as “a genuine first grader” who will make the most of his new opportunity.
“He got one NRL game at the Bulldogs but obviously they have a talented pack with a lot of depth and he found it hard to break into the side,” Sezer said.
“He’ll bring a lot to our club. He is a wide running back-rower who hits good lines, he is very skilful with a good offload, he has good feet and obviously his size is going to help give us some punch through the defensive line. He has a lot of years ahead of him and I know he’s hungry.
“We all saw how Paul Carter came up here last year and really made an impact and I’m confident ‘Lockie’ will be in the same position. I’m really excited to have him here.”