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