Morgan: I'm not yet an Origin player
He has earned the trust of Johnathan Thurston to deliver in rugby league's biggest moments but Maroons utility Michael Morgan insists he still has to prove to his Queensland teammates that he belongs at this level.
Twelve months on from making his Origin debut and with a miraculous grand final pass that will live on in rugby league folklore long after his career has come to a close, Morgan is now looking at the prospect of being drafted into the Queensland starting team after Cooper Cronk suffered an ankle injury at training on Friday afternoon.
The 24-year-old was brought into Queensland camp for Game One last year as a jack-of-all-trades and if Cronk is able to take his place in the opener to the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series next Wednesday night it is a role he will happily play again.
With a premiership at stake Morgan showed incredible daring to throw a back-handed one-hand pass to Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt seconds from full-time in the grand final last year but said rather than the pass itself, it was Thurston's faith that gave his confidence the greatest lift.
"If someone like 'JT' in that part of the game gives me the ball, you get a bit of confidence from that," Morgan said from the team's base at Sanctuary Cove on Friday.
"Those types of things you don't plan for at all. If you're lucky enough that it comes of at the time it's obviously a big thing but it just makes me feel more comfortable playing with the type of players that are in this side, the guys that have won premierships and that type of thing.
"I'm definitely more comfortable coming in this time. When people say I'm an Origin player, I more see it as that I've played Origin and I've got the chance again this year.
"That's the biggest thing for me, guys that have been here for so long and been so successful – Cameron Smith breaks the record for the amount of games – so guys like him, you do whatever you can not to let those type of players down."
With an ability to play in the back row, at hooker, in the halves and anywhere in the three-quarter line, Morgan's versatility harks back to the days when a representative utility was almost a specialised position.
Players such as Shaun Berrigan, Craig Wing and Kurt Gidley became so valuable on the bench that they struggled to earn positions in the starting team.
At club level the past two seasons Morgan has split his time between fullback and five-eighth and says he will be expecting the unexpected as he rides the pine in the opening exchanges at ANZ Stadium.
"I go into the game with a role in my mind of what I'll be doing and it will be similar to last year," Morgan said.
"In the case of something happening, I can't plan for that. I'm lucky that I play a number of different positions, I played a number of different positions growing up as well which helps me.
"I'll train here and there in different spots through the week just in case something happens or to give other boys a spell for a set or two but I go into the game with a plan of what I have to do and what's expected but if that changes that's out of my control.
"It would be nice to have a permanent spot in the team but at the moment I'm more than happy to be playing the role I'm playing.
"I'm just happy to be in the side. Whether that's on the bench or starting, I'm happy either way."