Maroons' game of drones

The use of drones in rugby league is now common place but for new Maroons left centre Michael Morgan the bird's eye view of his every movement at Queensland training has been a great boost to his confidence ahead of Origin II at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

The Cowboys captain has rarely played at left centre in his career and before Queensland's 18-14 win in Game One at Suncorp Stadium he had done so only once in a Maroons jersey, back in 2017.

The 27-year-old said having Queensland great Justin Hodges in camp as an assistant coach had been a "huge help" to his centre play and that the vision from the Maroons drone had topped off his preparation.

"Nowadays they have the drone at training so you can really get a good idea of how you are moving and whether it is right or wrong,” Morgan said.

"If you are watching from the sideline you don't see the space or the way you are moving. Using that drone you are able to get a bird's eye view and see the space around you and the small movements that you make that you probably don't realise. It just gives you a better look as a defensive line or when attacking with the footy, and a better idea of what you are doing.

"From the first camp we had no game to go off. In terms of review or preview it was about looking at how we trained, the shapes we had, defensively how we were moving. [The drone] gives you more of an idea of where you are at and what you need to do better."

Morgan will mark new NSW right centre Tom Trbojevic on Sunday and said his experience on both the left and right side of the field as a half had him well prepared to adjust to what is essentially a foreign role.

"When I was younger I played on the left and then I came into first grade and JT played on the left, so I went to the right,” Morgan said.

"Then at the start of this year I played a bit on the left and went back to the right. It's always something I have done which has turned out to be a good thing. Often you hear of players who like one side of the field compared to the other. It doesn't bother me too much which side I play on. If anything it's probably helped me.

"Centre is a position I enjoy … a different role that I am used to at club footy but being in a different team and different environment makes the change of position easier.

Match: Maroons v Blues

Game 2 -

Full Time
Maroons

Home Team

Maroons

Scored 6 points
Blues

Away Team

Blues

Scored 38 points

Venue: Optus Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network

"No matter who you are playing against at this level it is always a challenge. I am OK with that [challenge of marking Trbojevic]. Having Hodgo there is a huge help, and if I focus on my prep, do the right things and get the help where I can the more I will be ready.”

Morgan has won a World Cup with the Kangaroos in the halves but is yet to play in his favourite position at Maroons level. Whether he does one day is unknown but, like Dragons half Ben Hunt, Morgan isn't kicking stones about not being selected as a playmaker.

"Rugby league is a funny game. If I had the opportunity to one day, then I'd like it, but I also like playing centre for this team as well," he said.

"Wherever I have an opportunity to play in this team I'm happy, and if it is out of my normal position I am happy to do my best for the team. Leading up to the Origin period, Daly [Cherry-Evans] and Cam [Munster] were the two obvious choices in my opinion. I was OK with that. I am old enough and smart enough to know how it works. I am just happy to be here whether it's out of position or not."

Morgan had limited opportunities in attack in Origin I but with Munster and Kalyn Ponga lurking on his side of the field is ready to up the ante on Sunday.

"It all depends on how games go sometimes," he said.

"When we have the attacking threats that we do in our team if I can be a support to them, help them out to bring out their best then I am happy to do that."