Grand final hero almost quit Cowboys
He will be remembered for one of the greatest grand final plays of all time but just two years earlier Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan seriously considered walking away from the game for good.
With a flick of his wrist in the dying seconds of what has become regarded as one of the best grand finals of all time, Morgan's right hand played a crucial role in putting Kyle Feldt on an unobstructed path to the try-line that allowed the Cowboys to draw level as the full-time siren sounded and go on to defeat the Broncos 17-16 in extra time.
Morgan and his Cowboys teammates returned to 1300SMILES Stadium on Monday for their first training session of 2016 and for the first time in the club's history with a Telstra Premiership to defend.
If it's unfamiliar territory for most players, it is a far cry from Morgan's preparation for the 2014 season which he considered could be his last following the sudden passing of close friend Alex Elisala early in 2013.
The bond between the pair was forged in the Morgan household in Townsville where Elisala lived for a short time as they attended high school together and in the wake of his passing Morgan found no joy in playing rugby league.
Prior to a Round 13 NRL clash with the Bulldogs that year and with Johnathan Thurston sidelined during the Origin period, Morgan told then coach Neil Henry that he didn't want to play before later taking his place in the side.
Speaking on The Locker Room with Denan Kemp, Morgan said that not even an Intrust Super Cup title with the Mackay Cutters in 2013 was enough to convince him that he wanted to pursue his career in rugby league.
"I just lost interest for footy. It just made me realise what's really important," Morgan told The Locker Room.
"When you're playing footy it is [important] and we get paid to do it and we should be serious about it but at the end of the day I wasn't seeing it like that.
"That year of footy, I don't remember any of it really. It didn't interest me at all really.
"There are two games that I remember that year. The Cutters versus the Pride – the other feeder team in Mackay – that was the first game that I actually felt like playing again and the other was the grand final.
"I remember that I scored a try and I was walking back and I saw Lek's family and even though the game was still going I felt like crying.
"I was signed until the end of 2014 and I did say to myself, I don't want to play anymore. I thought I'd give myself until the end of 2014 and if I'm still not enjoying it and I don't want to do it then that will be it. I won't waste my time doing it."
Since that time, Morgan – who is an ambassador for the NRL's State of Mind campaign – has represented the Prime Minister's XIII in Papua New Guinea, played three Origin matches for Queensland and won a maiden premiership with the Cowboys.
The combination of a new coach in Paul Green and a new position at fullback played a significant role in the now 24-year-old being able to put the torture of 2013 behind him and start fresh again in 2014.
"It ended up being that the coach changed, the staff changed and the whole club changed," Morgan said.
"I was looking forward to 2014 as a fresh start and thought that I'd try hard, train hard and do what I can to try and play and at the time I definitely wasn't expecting to play fullback that's for sure.
"I just thought I'd see out the year and see how I go and then the club felt different, there were new players coming in so it worked out."