If it wasn’t already, Michael Morgan’s favourite number is now 14. At least until State of Origin Game One teams are announced on Tuesday.
After another match-winning performance against the Broncos on Friday night Morgan has earned the right to be in the selection mix for the Maroons interchange utility jersey that was occupied by Daly Cherry-Evans in Game Three last year.
The Cowboys five-eighth has done all he possibly can over the last two games especially, with a blinder of a seven days, including five tries, five line-breaks and back-to-back games of the team’s highest NRL Fantasy score.
Along with Morgan’s sheer brilliance, his physical attributes are what set him apart and make the 23-year old such a tantalising Origin prospect.
Morgan is one of the strongest halves in the game at 185 centimetres and 96 kilograms and is fast becoming the single-most dangerous ball-runner in the competition – a mould that is perfectly suited to Origin arena.
He attacks defences with sweeping runs underscored by what could be construed as a hint of arrogance for such a young playmaker.
After the 31-20 victory on Friday night, both captain Johnathan Thurston and opposition fullback Darius Boyd heaped praise on the league’s form player, not shying away from labelling him Origin-ready.
“[Morgan] is pushing all the right buttons [for a Maroons call-up] obviously,” Thurston said.
“It’s a decision for the selectors and Mal to make but he wouldn’t look out of place there.
“He can cover a lot of positions so he’s an ideal utility player, he can play on an edge, in the centres, halves, fullback so he gives us that utility and I’m sure he will be in Mal’s plans in the future."
Boyd added: “He's deceptive, he's bloody quick and very strong as well. He was in our camp as 19th man last year and we have a lot of guys coming through like him, Gagai and 'Milf' [Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford] so it's pleasing for Queensland."
Morgan is himself a little more reserved and seemingly embarrassed by the hype surrounding his recent form.
Last week he admitted that he was just content to have his name in the 17 each week, while this week he has dismissed any chance of gaining a look-in for Queensland’s shot at redemption over New South Wales.
“To be talked about (as an Origin prospect) is very humbling; it’s something I’d never really thought of,” Morgan said.
“It would be nice. Those kinds of things are always a great experience. Last year (in camp as 19th man) I really enjoyed it but it’s not like I’m going to be disappointed if something like that doesn’t happen. I’m honestly not expecting anything like that.
“I think the Queensland side from the last game [of the 2014 series] and how it’s been the last eight years, the side kind of picks itself still. They are a loyal team and so they should be.”
If not picked by Mal Meninga on Tuesday, Morgan will assume the lead playmaker role for the first time in his career at NRL level, likely to be paired with Robert Lui against Wests Tigers.