New Cowboys captain Michael Morgan has paid tribute to club greats Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston as he prepares to step into their shoes and lead the club into a new era.
The 27-year-old was unveiled as the new Cowboys skipper at the club’s season launch at the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre on Friday afternoon where he spoke of the great honour that had been bestowed upon him.
“I've had a couple of conversations with Matt about it. He let me know he was very happy for me," Morgan said.
"He and JT had a very good relationship in the way they captained the team and they complemented each other really well for the last eight years.
“I'm still in close contact with JT as well if ever I need a hand with anything.
“It's probably better for me to do it this year when I still have someone like Matt around to lean on when I need to.
“To captain this club, it’s something very special that I never would've thought would happen.”
Morgan said he would take plenty away from Thurston’s example as a captain and leader, both on and off the field.
“It gets talked about how competitive he was and how tough he was but away from footy to anyone in the squad, no matter what your age or how many games you played, he is just a really good bloke and was always welcoming to people,” Morgan told NRL.com.
“He won four Daly Ms but he was never arrogant in any way. He was always down to earth and respectful of everyone in the squad.
“I always admired the way no matter what the score or where you were on the field, he wouldn't stop. He was competitive and if you were chasing points he wanted to put himself in the game to be the one to try and pull the team out of trouble.
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“I really loved that about him and that's something I'd like to do more of. It’s not like I'd give up in games, don’t take that the wrong way, but just to never stop competing in a game no matter where you are on the field or what position in the game you are in."
At 27 and with 139 games to his name, Morgan is in the prime of his career and the perfect age to ascend to the captaincy role.
He says he will still call on Scott for guidance as he embarks on his leadership journey with the 2015 premiers.
“You couldn't have had two better people to be co-captains together in JT and Matt Scott. I still see Thumper as the ultimate leader of the playing group,” Morgan said.
“If I had a concern or needed to ask someone something he's probably still the first guy I'd talk to.
“Matt Scott will always be the ultimate leader of the playing group while he's here.”
Morgan said the Cowboys were “very privileged” to have a group of leaders in Jordan McLean, Jason Taumalolo and Gavin Cooper who he insisted could all have been worthy captains, but it will be honour to lead the club into a new era.