Prior to becoming a sports presenter with Channel Ten, Matthew Burke had a storied international rugby career and remains arguably the greatest fullback in Wallabies history. A nerveless goalkicker and prolific try scorer, Matthew contributed 878 points for the Wallabies over eleven years and 81 Tests. His professional rugby career spanned fifteen years and included three Rugby World Cup appearances (1995, 1999, 2003), a series win over the British & Irish Lions (2001) and countless individual point scoring records. He earned 115 caps for the NSW Waratahs, scored a record 1172 points, and also captained the state.
Edie Burke is the second of Matthew’s four children and is fast moving up through the professional rugby ranks. Edie has represented both Australia and New South Wales in Sevens rugby at school and U18s level and is playing with the New South Wales Waratahs as part of their Next Gen program.
“I played rugby for a living, and my life was selfish. I love my family – my wife, Kate, and four girls – but our life was all about me. It was playing footy, then family sort of came second. Then we went overseas [to play for the Newcastle Falcons]. My children were only little. Harriet and Edie were respectively only 20 months old and six months old. Playing overseas was, again, to follow my dream.
“But I hope the things that I left my kids with is resilience, you know, the ability to stick things out. I think that’s a great term, resilience, and one that both kids and parents should embrace. As we all know, you go through tough times when you’re growing up. And as parents you can’t walk in your children’s shoes. You’ve got to let them fall, but you need to be there to help them get back up, to guide them and help them become resilient.
“Having four girls is spectacular. I love them dearly. Life is tough sometimes, but we’re proud of our four girls, what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and what they’re about to do. Edie has grown into a beautiful young woman. She did well at school and is doing well at life. Edie plays rugby, and has been able to wear a NSW and Australian shirt, which is a great thrill for Kate and I to go watch her do her stuff. It’s probably still a hobby, but something could come out of it. In the end, you’ve got to be good at what you do if you want to keep excelling. I tell the girls that ‘You don’t let anyone dictate your life except for you; you’re the one to give yourself your own direction’.
“The path I walked… I don’t want them to walk. They have to walk their own path, whether that’s in sport, business or anything in life. You let them walk their own path and you support them as much as you can. That’s what you do as a dad and mum.”
“I think the first thing people say when dad says he has four daughters is “poor you.” But I think actually it’s a bit of a blessing. He loves us all so much. Dad, you always put us first before anyone else. And you always teach us how to get up. I’ve cried to you many times about sport and life, but you’re always there. I think that’s the best thing.
“Sevens rugby is so hard. It’s the constant tackling, getting up, and then tackling again, then you’ve got to sprint across to other side of the field. It’s hard work. During Covid, dad and I did do sessions together, but dad was injuring his hamstring and calf every two weeks!”
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