Morgan focused on cementing spot
Thursday 20 December 2012 9:53 AM
Although he would love to play State of Origin rugby league for Queensland one day, Michael Morgan’s mind is more on consolidating his position with the North Queensland Cowboys.
The 20-year-old halfback was named in the Maroons’ Emerging Origin squad for the first time late last week in a sign that the Queensland selectors are considering him for representative football in the future.
With Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk entrenched as the Maroons’ halves, the time for a Morgan call-up may be some time away, although he has the versatility to play in the centres and possibly the back-row which brings a bench role into the equation.
“It was a big surprise to be selected. That’s for sure,” Morgan said of his Emerging Origin squad inclusion.
“I knew they had the squad and the camp but I honestly wasn’t thinking about it at all.
“Playing Origin is something that you dream about from when you’re pretty young.
“That goal is still there but I think for myself is still a while away yet.
“I’ve still got to get a spot here first (at the Cowboys). There’s a big competition for spots and I think it’s bringing out the best in us.”
Thurston, who Morgan has often replaced in the Cowboys’ halves during the Origin period, has passed on his congratulations to his teammate who will duel with Robert Lui and Ray Thompson for the number seven jersey.
It was Morgan who ended 2012 as Thurston’s halves partner after Thompson suffered a season-ending shoulder surgery and the former NYC grand finalist grew into his role, including scoring a hat-trick of tries in the week one final against Brisbane.
Coach Neil Henry said the Emerging Origin selection would be good for Morgan’s confidence.
“At the back end of last season, he really showed he could handle first grade and make a difference on the field,” Henry said.
“This vindicates his improvement over the last couple of years.
“Our stocks in the halves are great and it’s going to be real battle for positions in the team, like there is for a lot of positions across the squad.”