Back to the fu­ture for cen­tred Morgo

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH jonathon. tuxworth@ news. com. au

THE last time Michael Mor­gan was cho­sen at cen­tre he was wear­ing the ma­roon of Mackay Cut­ters, not pre­par­ing for an Ori­gin de­cider with Queens­land. It’s why he is brac­ing for NSW to tar­get his un­tried left edge part­ner­ship with Cameron Mun­ster in Wed­nes­day’s Ori­gin de­cider as he pre­pares to play cen­tre for the first time in his first grade ca­reer. Mor­gan lost to Mun­ster in the bat­tle to re­place the in­jured Johnathan Thurston at five- eighth, with Ma­roons coach Kevin Wal­ters of the be­lief the debu­tant will be more at ease in an all- Mel­bourne “spine” along­side Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith. Mor­gan has played seven Ori­gins off the bench and has long been viewed as the heir ap­par­ent for a halves spot when Thurston and Cronk re­tire. But he in­sisted he wasn’t dis­heart­ened and his brief time at right cen­tre in Ori­gin II, where he set up Dane Ga­gai’s win­ning try, had given him con­fi­dence he can shut down Blues star Josh Du­gan. “That’s def­i­nitely what I will be ex­pect­ing ( to be tar­geted), yeah,” Mor­gan said. “It will be me and Mun­ster on the left edge there, so I’m sure they’ll send a bit of traf­fic our way and try and get some points there. “I’m not dis­ap­pointed at all, ob­vi­ously I pre­fer the halves but I’m just happy to be part of the team. “It ( Ori­gin II) gave me some con­fi­dence although I’ll be on the other side of the field this time. “All through my twen­ties, I played all my footy on the left side of the field. It’s only when I came into first grade where JT plays left that I went to the right.

“I like it be­cause I carry the ball with my left hand, so I’ll be able to use a right fend if I need to.”

Mor­gan said he and Cow­boys team­mate Gavin Cooper would work over­time with Mun­ster to make sure they’re on the same page de­fen­sively.

“De­fen­sively, a lot of the time you’re one- on- one with the op­po­si­tion and Josh Du­gan is ob­vi­ously a very strong run­ner of the ball,” Mor­gan said.

“It will be a chal­lenge and it’ll be mak­ing sure I’m talk­ing and work­ing with the guys around me.

“I’ve de­fended a lot with Gav Cooper so we’ll work with Mun­ster and try and help him fit into the way we like to de­fend as much we can.”

Mor­gan’s pres­ence on the field from the open­ing whis­tle will give the Ma­roons an­other ball- play­ing op­tion and he has been in su­perb form for the Cow­boys since Thurston was ruled out for the sea­son.

“It’s an eas­ier ( for Mun­ster to eighth),” he said.

“From a team point of view, that’s what the de­ci­sion came down to and I un­der­stand that com­pletely. It’ll help him a lot to do a role he’s used to do­ing at Mel­bourne Storm with the guys he does it with.” tran­si­tion play five

NEW ROLE: Ma­roons star Michael Mor­gan in ac­tion for the Mackay Cut­ters early in his ca­reer.

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