Morgan's respect for history of No.6
In the wake of another brilliant World Cup display Michael Morgan has revealed how he is driven to succeed by a desire to honour the legacy of the great players to have worn the Australian number six jersey.
Morgan was at his game breaking best in the 54-6 semi-final demolition of the Bati and has played a key role in unleashing Australia's left side attack which has seen Valentine Holmes score 11 tries in the past two games.
Kangaroos legends of the modern game like Wally Lewis, Brad Fittler, Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston have worn the six with distinction and Morgan sees himself as a custodian of the jersey.
"You don't want to come in and disrespect the jersey by not doing your job. That was the biggest thing," Morgan told NRL.com.
"I wasn't worried about it but you do have those doubts about it because of who has gone before you.
"But that didn't stop me from wanting to try and get it and wanting to do well.
"I know in the back of my mind that I am in no way cemented in this six jersey.
"There are great players in the squad [such as Cameron Munster and James Maloney] who aren't playing who could do the job so I am very grateful I've had the opportunity.
"In no way do I think I own it or it is mine. There have been plenty that have gone before me and plenty will follow after me."
In the wake of Thurston's season ending injury Morgan was thrust into the prime game manager role at the Cowboys and asked to deliver in ways that he was not required to before.
"And I think that has changed my career in a way," Morgan said.
"Previous to this year 'JT' was the dominant one and I'd play off what he could set up and what he could do.
"This year was my opportunity to stamp my authority on the team and in a game."
Morgan is in the zone right now for the Kangaroos as they prepare for the World Cup final on Saturday night, but has not over-thought his role at five-eighth and has adapted to his left side of the field role with distinction.
"It is a serious game and you always want to be winning, but I always try and stay relaxed and calm," he said.
"That is what has helped me the most so I don't over-think things or panic. It is about staying calm and playing what is in front of you.
"I have played mostly on the right side at club level but you come into a side like this and there are just great players all around you.
"Either way, it doesn't bother me one side or the other."
The only side he cares about is the Australian side after setting himself the challenge of making the World Cup squad. Now he is set for the rare honour of lining up in a final.
"It was a goal of mine this year to be in this position at the end of the year, and I am just glad to have this opportunity," he said.
First published on NRL.com.