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Main man: Morgan's kicking evolution

From a second – or even third – option kicker to a dominant controller of games with his boot, Michael Morgan has revolutionised his kicking game and the results have shown in the finals series. 

‌He was particularly good against the Eels, forcing four line dropouts as well as earning a try assist with perfectly placed torpedo, angled to bounce back into the field of play that earned forward John Asiata his first try. 

The halfback himself puts his improvement more down to the do-or-die circumstances he's been forced into than any particular training. 

"I've probably just had a bit more practice with it this year more than anything, 'JT' not being there and being in that position you tend to kick a lot more so if anything it's just that I've had more practice with it," Morgan said.  

"I've always been an option in the past playing five-eighth, but having 'JT' there he obviously did it all but I think because I've learnt as I've gone this year that's something else I've been able to learn as I play."   

Morgan's job has been made easier by the quality of the kick chases his teammates have put in, a product of their incredible effort and determination in 2017, but he doesn't take it for granted. 

He'll need his kicks to be near-perfect against the Roosters in order to stifle their powerful backs and prevent them from getting a strong start to their sets. 

"It's very important that I try and get a good kick away, I can't just be kicking and hoping for the best. You want to control where they start their sets from, that's how I see it as a kicker, I want to try and put the ball where I'd prefer them to start their set, and that chase works well off the back of it," the halfback said.  

A look at Morgan's stats shows just how controlling he has become, with only 53 kicking metres in the Cowboys' Round 1 game against the Canberra Raiders, compared to the 465 metres he made off 20 kicks in their win over the Eels in week two of the finals.

In the last five games Morgan and Mitchell Pearce have played in 2017 the North Queensland No.7 has out-kicked his Tricolours counterpart by an average of just 20 metres, and whoever can execute the better finish to their sets on the night will go a long way to securing their side a spot in the grand final.   


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