Back to News Melbourne Uni’s driving force

Melbourne Uni’s driving force

Cricket is one of those unique games where characters are formed on the pitch and appear from nowhere off it.

Melbourne University's Nick Burke is a prime example of the latter.

The 21-year-old, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was invited to the club by his former teacher Hugh Van Cuylenberg three years ago to help with the backroom staff.

From that day forward, Burke, or Beefy to his mates, has not looked back.

"I asked him down to get involved in a managerial role, he thought by that he was going to coach the side," Van Cuylenberg said.

"He's quite a character and has grown into a big part of this club.

"His team talks on a Thursday are now legendary and gives us all a bit of a rev up before the weekend.

"He even does his homework and checks on the weaknesses of the teams we are playing."

Like other club legends there are many stories associated with Beefy.

These go from the sublime to the ridiculous, but give you an insight into the man and how he's revered by his peers.

"When you think of Melbourne Uni, you think of Nick Burke," First XI captain Jarrod Leggett said.

"He's just one of those great guys you get around the club and will do anything for you, if we've got a problem he'll do his best to sort it out.

"He's already a legend.

"There are a couple of stories when you think of him.

"One was on a hot day when one of our batsmen was on 70, he called Beefy over for a drink, but when he made it to the middle the drinks bottles were empty.

"He also gets the lads around on a Thursday after training and gives the whole squad a motivational speech.

"This one time he was building up saying "I've got one word for you, one word this week, and that is..... inner belief", we just cracked up."

The main love of Nick's life is Collingwood Football Club.

Beefy is a walking, talking encyclopedia of anything Pies related.

Ask him what the score was in 2004, round five and he'll reel it off in a matter of seconds.

"He's always right too," Van Cuylenberg added.

"One day the lads were sitting there and firing questions at him and he got every single one spot on.

"He's starting to do that for Uni matches now, it is pretty incredible actually."

And for the man himself?

Anyone who has met him will know he's never short of a word or two, especially when pressed on footy, bourbon and more recently his new found love for Uni.

"It has changed my life coming here," Burke said.

"I've met so many great people and love every minute of it.

"I really think the lads love the speeches, it's a highlight of the week coming down to training and seeing everyone."

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