Roosters veteran says ‘I’m not a thug’

A REMORSEFUL Danny Burt says he is ‘‘not a thug’’ and he will accept whatever penalty comes after elbowing then stepping on former teammate David Field in the Roosters’ dramatic 2-1 relegation-battle win over West Wallsend.

Burt, 39, was sent off with Lake Macquarie leading 2-1 at Johnston Park on Saturday after elbowing Field in the head while the two were laying on the ground. Burt had just given away a free kick in a challenge with the Bluebells striker.

Burt was given a red card for the blow, and as he walked off he stepped on the ankle of Field, who was still laying on the pitch.

West Wallsend coach Greg Smith said the elbow alone was one of the worst actions he had seen in the state league.

Smith said Burt was a serial offender and ‘‘shouldn’t be playing anywhere’’.

‘‘Danny’s a really nice guy off the park. On the park he’s just loose,’’ Smith said.

Burt, who was suspended for four weeks for abusing a referee after last year’s semi-final loss to South Cardiff, said there were no excuses for his actions.

‘‘I’m not very happy with myself and I’m not proud of what I’ve done,’’ Burt said.

‘‘I apologised to David, my coach and the other team straight after the game.

‘‘And, as club captain, I’ve got to explain myself to the kids at the club.’’

Field and Burt were teammates in 2010, when the Roosters went through the first division season without losing a game. Field was the team’s leading scorer.

Burt described himself as a passionate player and said his actions came in the heat of the moment on a ‘‘very emotional day for both clubs’’.

But he denied he was a thug.

‘‘I’ll cop whatever I’m going to get on the chin,’’ he said.

‘‘Whatever happens, happens.

‘‘There’s no excuse for what I did, but I’m not a thug.

‘‘I’ve been elbowed, I’ve been headbutted. I’ve played for a long time and I give as good as I get.’’

He said he was tearful after the match reflecting on what he had done and believed he was already paying for his sins.

‘‘It’s out there and I’ve got to cop it,’’ he said.

‘‘I have a son in the under 16s and a daughter playing under sevens, and I’ve got to face it and explain to them what I did, and that’s punishment enough for me.

‘‘It’s a tough thing to do.’’

Despite a lengthy ban and his 40th birthday on the horizon, Burt said he was ‘‘definitely keen to play on’’.

‘‘I’m a smidgen off 40 but I’m proud of what I’m doing, matching it with guys half my age, and as long as I’m of value to the Roosters, I’m keen to play on,’’ he said.

Lake Macquarie coach Chris Turner said he could not defend what Burt did.

‘‘He’s done the wrong thing, he’ll be punished for it and it’s just a matter of what it is,’’ Turner said.

The incident marred an otherwise joyous day for the Roosters, who needed a draw to keep their place in the top division.

Connor Evans scored 20 minutes into the match for West Wallsend but Alex Read equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Sean Matthews scored the winner with a header from a corner midway through second half.

Smith said defensive lapses were the Bluebells’ Achilles heel this year and proved costly again on Saturday.

But he was confident of keeping the nucleus of the side together for a shot at returning to the state league in 2014.

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