He was his own harshest critic after a couple of blown chances in the qualifying final against the Broncos, but Cowboys star Michael Morgan bounced back in a big way in Saturday’s 39-0 elimination final win against Cronulla.
With two tries gone begging at the hands of the five-eighth last week, Morgan’s personal disappointment threatened to derail his own preparation for the do-or-die encounter against the Sharks.
After slamming himself in the media after the Broncos’ defeat, Morgan was earlier this week pulled aside by coach Paul Green, who helped ready the 23-year-old for the elimination final.
"(Green) wanted me to go back and do my job, not to change anything," Morgan said.
"I was just frustrated with a few parts of my game and a couple of moments within that (Broncos) game I was really annoyed about, but it was really good that we had the opportunity to make up for it.
"Normally I'm pretty harsh on myself after a bad game. I was personally a bit down after last week but once training was on we were there to train and do a job and everyone was on the same page so it was good."
The flashy five-eighth, who appeared less than 100 per cent last week, responded in the best possible fashion against one of the league's best grinding teams.
Morgan carved up the typically frugal Sharks side, stuffing the stats sheet with two tries, three line breaks and a try assist.
It was a reminder of just how important the local Townsville product is to the success of a Cowboys side whose title chances were questioned by many when he went down with a knee injury in Round 24.
Coach Green heaped praise on not just Morgan but the whole group for their resolve after a physically and mentally draining match at Suncorp Stadium seven days prior.
"Having that game under his belt last week (helped Morgan)," Green said.
"(Getting players in the right mind frame) is an important part of my job because everyone is different.
"He took last week pretty hard so for us to move forward… we needed to make sure he was in the right headspace for tonight and going forward, and I thought it was a good hit-out for him.
"To play this game you have to be mentally pretty tough.
"They were pretty disappointed after last week and sometimes if you hang onto that for too long it can affect your preparation following that.
"I was really happy with the way the boys dealt with last week's loss."