Morgan the master on the big stage
The master would have been proud of his apprentice.
Johnathan Thurston won't be seen in an Australian jersey again but the man who has learned so much by his side, Michael Morgan, is now playing like the future Immortal at the highest level.
Morgan has made a seamless transition into Thurston's No.6 jersey for the Kangaroos and it is his capacity to take the game by the scruff of the neck and come up with game-breaking plays which continues to astound.
With the Kangaroos trailing 2-0 against Fiji on Friday night a Morgan line break to set up Australia's first try to Billy Slater was decisive, while his cross-field kick for a Valentine Holmes four-pointer was inch perfect.
But it was the fourth try of the first half to Dane Gagai, where Morgan moved from his left side to the right to link with Cooper Cronk, which showcased his game sense and vision.
Morgan had a major influence on the carnage that followed and it is no coincidence left winger Holmes scored a record-breaking six tries.
Morgan is the ace up the Kangaroos' sleeve in their quest to win consecutive World Cups and has become a genuine superstar of the game.
It is his humility and matter-of-fact way of getting the job done that makes him such a deadly assassin.
For onlookers there is an air of inevitability about the Kangaroos successfully defending their World Cup title next weekend, no matter who their opponents, but that is not a view that will be entertained by coach Mal Meninga or the players.
Prior to this 54-6 semi-final win over Fiji the coach gave the team a public roasting for putting in their worst training session of the tournament.
It was a shot across the bow and a sign that just a hint of complacency was the hidden enemy that could bring this campaign undone in the final hour.
Captain Cameron Smith and Slater know only too well what happened at Suncorp Stadium nine years ago when Australia had a shocker against New Zealand in the final.
Those two veterans are the only survivors of that fateful 2008 campaign and the loss on home soil still cuts deep.
The Kangaroos have clearly been a cut above the rest of the sides at this World Cup, in much the same way as the Melbourne Storm were in the NRL this season.
The Slater, Smith and Cronk connection has ensured it, but there is plenty Storm-like about the Kangaroos. They are clinical, defence is king and they are also capable of the same attacking brilliance as Holmes's extraordinary 11 tries in the past two matches attests.
Meninga spoke before the game of the stringent KPIs in attack and defence that the players are expected to meet each week.
"It is just how we prepare. It is what we do," he said.
It is certainly what Morgan does.
Australia 54 (Holmes 6, Slater 2, Gagai 2 tries; Smith 7 goals) def. Fiji 6 (Vunivalu try, Koroisau goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Half-time score: 22-2. Crowd: 22,073.
First published on NRL.com.