Su­per­star Mor­gan in­spires gen­er­a­tion Michael gives hope to ev­ery young kid, says re­cruiter Zam­mit

The Courier-Mail - - NRL GRAND FINAL - PETER BADEL, ROBERT CRAD­DOCK

BE­HIND the su­per­star is the back story of the su­per­star few could see.

When Mor­gan runs on to ANZ Sta­dium in to­mor­row night’s NRL grand fi­nal against Mel­bourne, ev­ery as­pir­ing foot­balling phe­nom­e­non in North Queens­land should watch him, for he rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing they wish to be.

The Cow­boys ace, who fin­ished run­ner-up in the Dally M medal count on Wed­nes­day night, was never the young ge­nius. His first con­tract with the Cow­boys was worth $1500. At 15, he was so skinny he barely dom­i­nated school­boy games, his path to the big league was set thanks only to the finely trained eye of one of the code’s best tal­ent scouts.

“Michael gives hope to ev­ery young lo­cal kid show­ing you can make it,” said Cow­boys de­vel­op­ment chief Clint Zam­mit, who not only signed Mor­gan, but Ja­son Tau­malolo.

“When I signed Michael, he was by no means a stand­out. I de­cided to sign him be­cause he had some qual­i­ties which I thought we could de­velop.

“He was a good run­ner of the foot­ball and I thought as he got a bit big­ger and stronger, he could be an NRL player. It took just 12 months for him to show his po­ten­tial.”

In less than a decade, Mor­gan has gone from un­her­alded Townsville prod­uct to Cow­boys match-win­ner who played a key role in the club’s maiden ti­tle win in 2015 ... and could de­liver a replica script to­mor­row night.

“There is a lot of Cow­boy her­itage in him,” says Queens­land coach Kevin Walters, who has men­tored Mor­gan in the past two sea­sons at State of Ori­gin level.

“He was al­ways a guy who could pro­duce the big play. He set up the Cow­boys’ try in the 2015 grand fi­nal so that is noth­ing new.

“The other thing about be­ing a good play­maker is that you have to be a good team per­son. You have to think of oth­ers. Michael does that.” Without in­jured cham­pion Johnathan Thurston, the bur­den of play­mak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity has shifted to Mor­gan. “I’m re­ally proud of Morgo and what he has been able to do,” Thurston says. “His game has gone to an­other level. “He is in ca­reerbest form. It’s very ex­cit­ing for Cow­boys fans and the fu­ture of our club.”

COW­BOYS ACE: Michael Mor­gan with Townsville fans. Pic­ture: Adam Head

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