Morris stoked for Dogs debutants
Blues centre Josh Morris has run the eye over his fellow Bulldogs, NSW rookies Josh Jackson and David Klemmer, and he can't wait to see what each brings to the Origin arena on Wednesday night.
With a changing of the guard in the Blues forwards – Paul Gallen (hip), Greg Bird (suspension) and Anthony Watmough and Luke Lewis (not selected) – 28-year-old Morris suddenly finds himself one of the side's most experienced Origin campaigners and says the fresh energy of the young debutants is a boost.
"They're very excited. They've been playing really good football for us for the last two years and this is a just reward for them. They've been outstanding for us and hopefully that can transpire into a good game on Wednesday night," Morris told NRL.com.
Morris conceded it was "a bit funny" walking into camp and not having those four names, with their combined 65 Origins of experience among the playing group.
"I feel like one of the old blokes now. Last year I wasn't as old but that's the thing, you have to move out for the younger players eventually and that's the way Loz [Laurie Daley] has gone, but in saying that these guys have been around the system now for a couple of years and they know our values and what the squad stands for so it's not like they're coming into anything new."
Jackson usually starts on an edge for the Bulldogs but the starting lock role he has been handed for Wednesday's series opener isn't an entirely unfamiliar one, having starred there for Country against City during the Rep Round.
"I think anywhere Jacko plays he gives 100 per cent and he won't want to let anyone down. Being his first game I'm thrilled for him and I really want him to enjoy the week and I expect him to have a big game on Wednesday as well," he said.
And what will Klemmer bring to the side when he comes off the bench?
"Haha – aggression! Definitely aggression," Morris laughed.
"He uses every part of his body on the field and he's a hard man to bring down so we're certainly going to look for that lift off the bench when he comes on."
Morris is happy to share some words of advice with his clubmates as the camp wears on.
"I'm sure the boys who have been here for a while will be keen to pass on their knowledge of the environment and what to expect and they've got good heads on their shoulders so I think they'll be calm throughout the week and focused on getting their preparation right," he said.
Jackson said he just couldn't wait to get amongst it, having desired a Blues jersey for as long as he could remember.
"I'm excited, it's a great honour to be named in the team and just to be a part of it," he said, adding he was more than comfortable starting at lock rather than as an edge back rower.
"I usually start [on the edge] but more often than not move into the middle. I played lock a couple of weeks ago in the City Country match. It's a challenge, I'm sure it will be tough but I'm sure Laurie will sit me down and let me know what he wants me to do during the game. Hopefully I can do that to the best of my ability," he said.
Like Morris, Jackson was also excited to see what impact Klemmer could bring off the bench for the Blues.
"I know I'm pretty stoked for Dave, he's just been doing a great job for us at club level. This is the next step for him and he won't let anyone down out there next Wednesday," he said.
"That [aggressive style] is what he does well, that's his job at the Bulldogs and I'm sure he'll be even more fired up come Wednesday night."