He admits that he has an angry image on the field, and Travis Burns has said that he is doing all that he can to ensure that he gets rid of the angry tag, as he looks to become more level-headed this season.
Burns, a utility for the Panthers, more often than not has a tendency to test the patience of the NRL referees, highlighted by the fact that he was one of the Panthers most penalised players in 2010.
The acknowledgment that change is needed however comes as the 26-year old Burns is now a part of the Panthers leadership group, and in order to perform at his best, he has to curb his anger to do so.
Whilst Burns has also added 7 kilograms to his frame, putting his weight at 91kg, he knows that it is a change in attitude that is most important.
“I’m competitive, but sometimes that competitiveness is what brings me undone,” Burns said.
It’s something Matty [Elliott] has spoken to me about and something I’ve worked on in the pre-season, trying not to let things rattle me.”
Burns angry on-field persona started way back in 2006, his debut year, when he topped the list for most penalties with 30, whilst playing for the Manly Sea Eagles.
Whilst he has since managed to halt the large amount of penalties he concedes over the course of the season over the years, he knows that it is all about what happens this year.
“I’ve got a bit of a reputation with the referees so I’ve got to sort of pull it back a bit this year and change my demeanour and not be as animated when things go against me,” he said.
“Sometimes I get caught up with something that happened four or five plays ago which stops me from concentrating on what’s happening at that stage.”
For the first time in his career, as Burns now enters his second season with the Panthers, following previous stints with Manly and the North Queensland Cowboys, Burns has the added bonus of knowing that the five-eighth role belongs to him, and that he gets first crack.
It was the partnership with Luke Walsh that made the Panthers an unheralded force last year, and they will be looking to do the same in 2011, with Burns looking to add consistency to his game.
“I’m not a rookie any more. I’m only a few games off 100 games, so it’s about time to step up and be consistent week in, week out,” he said.
“That’s something that has sort of let me down in the past. I’ll play a few good games and I’ll go off the boil.”
After a limited 2010 pre-season, Burns is looking to re-kindle the existing partnership that he shares with Walsh, both during the trials and the regular season.
“We struck up a combination last year and we’re starting to read each other’s games better, so I think you’ll see the best out of us this year,” he said.