Morgan to rise to the challenge
He was instrumental in the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' Round 25 victory over the Wests Tigers, and Michael Morgan's teammates have no doubt he'll rise to the challenge against the Brisbane Broncos when they meet for a critical match on Thursday night.
The Cowboys can secure their place in the top eight with a victory, irrelevant of other results on the weekend, but given the calibre of the Queensland derby's previous meetings since the 2015 finals series no one will be tipping it to be a walk in the park for either side.
Morgan has been the man to lead the Cowboys since Johnathan Thurston's season ending injury, and he's made the role of leader amongst the team his own, contributing standout performances every week.
Fullback Lachlan Coote has been another man to share the load, but says Morgan's development outside of his comfort zone is the most impressive aspect of his performance in 2017.
"He's been awesome for us since he's been leading us around the park and it probably doesn't come naturally to him but I believe that he's been doing an awesome job for us and I think he's only going to get better," Coote said.
"He's been one of our consistent players all year, even when he stepped into that half role so we expect nothing less form 'Morgo' and I'm sure he'll turn up on the night and give it his best."
Coote returned from injury in Round 25 and contributed a try assist as well as 64 run metres from the back, but is hopeful to up his game this week.
If the Cowboys are to win he'll definitely need to, with even the smallest lapse in the Cowboys v Broncos clash in previous years costing both sides points.
One of the few other players to be in the team with Morgan throughout the year is Kyle Feldt, the winger profiting off a Morgan grubber to pull ahead of the Tigers in Round 25, and it wasn't the first time the pair have combined to steal matches at the death in 2017.
Feldt is confident Morgan will be doing everything he can in the lead-up to and during the game to make sure the Cowboys secure their finals position.
"'Morgo' has come a long way ever since the Anzac Test, he's really taken a really good leadership role in our team and taking another step up on the field as well as off is good to see," Feldt said.
While it's possible for the Cowboys to finish as high as fifth and secure a home final, it's far from the Cowboys' minds given the task they have ahead of them.
"That would be something that we would really like but … it's in our own hands and if everything goes our way we'll be sweet but it all starts on Thursday, that's the biggest task ahead of us," the winger said.
First published on NRL.com.