Morgan asked to take on unfamiliar role in revamped Maroons outfit New centre of attention
MAROONS “Mr Fixit” Michael Morgan says he is comfortable with captain Cameron Smith’s public push for Cameron Munster to be installed as Queensland five- eighth.
Coach Kevin Walters will today confirm Munster as Johnathan Thurston’s replacement in the No. 6 jersey for Wednesday’s State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Walters named a 17- man squad in alphabetical order on Monday, giving himself the opportunity to consult senior Maroons players before finalising his team.
While Thurston indicated to Walters that Morgan should replace him, Smith publicly backed Storm teammate Munster to make his Origin debut in the playmaking hot- seat.
Having served a sevengame Origin apprenticeship from the bench, Morgan was prepared to step into Thurston’s void, but Munster’s club combinations with Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Smith saw him earn the nod.
Morgan said he had no issues with Smith publicly pushing for Munster.
“I can understand why,” he said. “He plays with him every week and that would be the four of them playing together.
“They have played a lot of footy together, a lot more than what I have played with the Melbourne boys.
“I just love being here and part of the group. It doesn’t bother me too much where I play.
“Coming off the bench I’ve been going into the middle a lot which isn’t the easiest place to play. It’s something I enjoy doing because I’m doing it in this side.”
Morgan, 25, will make his first starting Origin appearance at left centre, a position he has never started a match in before during his professional career.
He has been in a purple patch of form for the Cowboys over the past month in the absence of Thurston and Walters believes he can transfer that into a start at centre.
After a slow start to the year, Morgan turned his season around while in Kangaroos camp for the Anzac Test following some advice from Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk.
Cronk said he urged Morgan to take control at the Cowboys and backed him to perform as a makeshift centre.
“Morgs is quite a reserved, shy and humble kid from Queensland,” Cronk said.
“For him to step up and be the halfback, you need to be dominant.
“You need to have a personality that’s a bit outward.
“I basically said, ‘ you’re one of the best 17 players in this country. When you go back ( to the Cowboys), ask for the responsibility and do that’.
“He is a guy that has a big body and is quite physical for someone that plays in the halves. He can handle himself.
“The kid can play. He can play under pressure. His personality suits it. He’s got good composure. There is no doubt whatever jersey he wears, I have faith in him.”
Morgan will have his first training session in the centres at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast today.