Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

MOR­GAN’S greater fo­cus on run­ning to the de­fen­sive line was no­tice­able in the 22- 16 loss and it helped open space for tries to Kyle Feldt and Kane Lin­nett.

The Queens­land Ori­gin star is car­ry­ing a burner to his neck he suf­fered in a hit af­ter he passed the ball against South Syd­ney in round 19.

It caused him some dis­com­fort against the Roost­ers but he be­lieves it is worth the re­ward.

“It’s just a burn­ing thing that if it gets knocked a cer­tain way, it gives a burn down my arm and it takes a bit of time to set­tle down,” Mor­gan said. “I got one a few weeks ago and once you get one it just keeps on hap­pen­ing. But it’s noth­ing se­ri­ous, I’m not wor­ried about it.”

The de­bate around pro­tect­ing play­mak­ers resur­faced on Sun­day when Thurston called for play­ers who il­le­gally hit them late to be sin binned.

But Mor­gan in­sists he isn’t be­ing un­fairly tar­geted and is will­ing to em­u­late Thurston by tak­ing hits to open up chances for his team.

“I don’t think I’ve had an il­le­gal hit put on me at all. In no way do I think I’m be­ing tar­geted, it’s just the way I’m play­ing,” Mor­gan said.

“I’ve tried to em­pha­size more tak­ing the ball to the line to give our out­side guys more of a chance.

“We saw on the week­end when Feldty scored I got hit as I passed it then, but it gives the out­side guys room if I can do that. I un­der­stand more now why he ( Thurston) got taken out a lot but I don’t think it’s from be­ing tar­geted. I just tried to em­pha­size stop­ping in the line a bit more.”

It will be a “master ver­sus ap­pren­tice” bat­tle when Mor­gan bat­tles Mel­bourne Storm half­back Cooper Cronk in Fri­day’s block­buster in Townsville.

Mor­gan has pub­licly thanked Cronk for help­ing him tweak a few ar­eas of his game when they were to­gether in rep­re­sen­ta­tive camps af­ter a slow start to the year.

He has since been in strong form af­ter ad­just­ing to life with­out Thurston, but hopes he can use the lessons learned against his op­po­site num­ber this week.

“He might know what I’m go­ing to do now,” Mor­gan quipped.

“He was great for me ear­lier in the year and that’s the type of per­son he is. He was more than happy to do that.

“I was very grate­ful for what he did but on Fri­day night it will be a bit dif­fer­ent. We’ll be the ones try­ing to stop him.”

WHAM, BAM: North Queens­land Cow­boys half­back Michael Mor­gan is tak­ing more hits car­ry­ing the ball to the line. FROM BACK PAGE Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

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