Morgan plays down long-term Roos role

Morgan plays down long-term Roos role

Kangaroos five-eighth Michael Morgan is not getting ahead of himself, refusing to buy into suggestions that he is Australia's long-term five-eighth.

The 25-year-old's comments come as the Kangaroos prepare for their World Cup final match-up against England on Saturday night, with Morgan a huge part of why Australia's tournament has been so successful.

The North Queensland Cowboys star has played four games in the No.6 jersey, setting up four tries and scoring two of his own, with his four line breaks for the tournament the third highest of any Australian player – only bettered by flyers Billy Slater and Valentine Holmes. 

With future immortal Johnathan Thurston retiring from representative football this year, Morgan has taken his opportunity to show that the Kangaroos are in good hands heading into the future. 

However, Morgan is his own harshest critic and still believes improvement is needed to cement his position in the halves for the long run. 

Speaking to media ahead of Saturday's clash, Morgan said that although a World Cup final win would help his prospects of retaining the jersey, consistency would be the key. 

"It may help (a World Cup victory) but it always depends on how you're playing the following year as well. I think there's only one Test match next year so it'll be open again for anyone by then," Morgan said. 

"Look I'm just glad that I'm here and that I've had the opportunity to play in the World Cup, and that I've had the opportunity to start as well. What comes after that, I'm not too sure. Hopefully I'm still there but it's a long way away."

 

 
Another factor that works in Morgan's favour is his versatility.

Morgan can play at fullback, in the centres, in the halves or even in the second row if needed, meaning that if an unexpected reshuffle is needed during a match, he can always be coach Mal Meninga's Mr Fix-it. 

When asked about which of those positions was his favourite, Morgan said five-eighth was where he felt most comfortable and where he would like to see out the rest of his career. 

"I've probably had the most success playing there (at five-eighth). I did enjoy my year at fullback the other year and I enjoyed playing centre this year in Origin. I do enjoy it, but I'm probably clearer and more comfortable in the No.6," he said. 

Morgan will start in the final of an international tournament for the first time on Saturday, with his halves combination with Cooper Cronk vital in getting Australia home. 

Although it will be his first final as a starter, Morgan has had some experience in big games on the international stage, coming off the bench in the Kangaroos' 34-8 win over New Zealand in the 2016 Four Nations final in the UK.  

This time around he is on home soil, making this the biggest match of his Australian career. 

"It definitely is [my biggest game for the Kangaroos]. I've enjoyed the tournament so far," he said.

"The Four Nations final last year was probably my biggest game up until now, but I didn't have as big a role as I do now in the team either. I'm glad I am starting in my preferred position so it should be good."