Hasler backs Morris for Blues No.1
After two strong games in the Bulldogs fullback jersey, State of Origin and Test winger Brett Morris could be the man to replace Jarryd Hayne at the back in Laurie Daley's team this year.
At least, that's according to his club coach Des Hasler, who remarkably brought up the topic of Origin after his side's 32-12 win over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium without it being mentioned.
"It's only Round 2 but he is just one of those players that undoubtedly he'd be in anyone's top pick as one of the best wingers in the world," Hasler said when asked for a progress report on his new custodian.
All pretty straightforward so far but, as seems to be the case in Des Hasler press conferences this year, things took an unexpected turn.
"He wears the blue jumper, there are a number of fullback choices there for Laurie Daley but he's not making a bad fist of it at the moment is he?" Hasler remarked.
Incumbent Jarryd Hayne has famously left our code for a crack at the bright lights in the NFL and his heir apparent, Dragons fullback Josh Dugan, is currently under in doubt after picking up an ankle injury in his side's Round 1 loss to Melbourne.
Morris's opposite number on this night, Eels fullback Will Hopoate, is another player with Origin experience now making the shift to fullback, while likely future Origin players in Canberra's Jack Wighton and Penrith's Matt Moylan are both impressing at the back for their respective clubs.
Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco could be considered a bolter, while Manly fullback Brett Stewart has shone at Origin level in the past and looked to be in career-best touch last year.
But if Daley does elect to listen to Hasler's advice, the early evidence is he could do a lot worse.
Morris has a stunning 19 tackle breaks in two games at the back for Canterbury, easily a competition high at this early stage. He has also racked up 350 running metres in two weeks, as well as three tries.
The 28-year-old was a handful for the Eels all night and also produced a quality try-saving ankle tap on Eels flyer Semi Radradra at a crucial juncture in the type of Origin-style play he has already shown he can produce at the top level.
"He's just a class footballer and it's only his second game at fullback and his second game in six months but there are some really good signs there," Hasler noted.
Morris just has to stay on the park to be in the Blues squad in the May 27 series opener, and much will come down to which other players are in form and available. But on current form he wouldn't look out of place at the back for his state.