Morgan sees positives in halves switch
North Queensland's recently-appointed five-eighth Michael Morgan said he wasn't disappointed about his move from his preferred fullback position to the halves, and sees the positives of Lachlan Coote's inclusion in the team.
Whether he likes it or not, Morgan's switch to the halves – a position he was well-versed in before switching to fullback last season – has coincided with the Cowboys' current rich vein of form including their 30-12 win over reigning premiers the Rabbitohs on Monday night.
After being moved to the halves for the Cowboys' Round 3 loss to Brisbane at the expense of Robert Lui, the Cowboys have won their past three games including victories over the Panthers and the Storm.
With the 23-year-old having spent the majority of the Cowboys' pre-season training in the custodian role under coach Paul Green, Morgan said he was slowly getting back into the mix of things in the halves with Coote fully recovered from his ACL tear suffered at the inaugural Auckland Nines tournament last year.
"I'm not disappointed about being switched back. I said at the start of the year that fullback was where I'd rather play but I always knew that with Cootey coming back that I at some point would probably go back to five-eighth," Morgan told NRL.com.
"I didn't dwell on it or anything like that. It was in the back of my mind that it would happen eventually so when it did I could stay positive about it. Attacking-wise it has changed – I'm probably not as involved in terms of kick returns and that kind of thing –but I'm slowly starting to get used to it again.
"I played one game in the halves all last season so one of the biggest things is getting used to the defensive load again, though I feel more comfortable now as the weeks go by."
Moved to fullback to cover Coote's injury in 2014, Morgan finished the season having competed in every single Cowboys game, with the Townsville Brothers junior producing 17 try assists, 10 tries, 69 tackle breaks and 13 line breaks by year's end.
Drafted into the Queensland Origin squad as injury cover by Mal Meninga as a reward for his good form, Morgan's growth in confidence and ability has been a close companion of his since moving back to the halves.
Morgan also added he was beyond happy to see his mate 'Cootey' back doing what he does best.
"If anything I was able to get a lot of confidence out of last year and I think there are things I've definitely learnt and bought into playing in the halves," he said.
"I play a similar role as I did on that right edge last year so for the betterment of the team I'm happy to continue doing that. I'm happy for Cootey as well. He deserves to be there and deserves to hold his spot
"It's awesome for him [to be back]. He's a great bloke and he deserves it. He worked very hard last season when he was injured and I know he couldn't wait to get back into it. I'm very happy to see him back and playing good footy and enjoying it."
Of course, Morgan's successful move to the halves has also been boosted by the fact he is playing alongside the best player in the world in Johnathan Thurston.
Labelling his partner in crime as the reason behind the Cowboys' recent success, Morgan said with their squad now playing how they intended to play in the pre-season it has helped Thurston shine.
"The last few weeks [Thurston] has been killing it. It's no coincidence we have gone well the past few weeks when he's performing the way he has," Morgan said.
"Playing with him, it allows me to be able to work off the back of all of his talk and organising across the board."