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John Morris talks to GRL - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Wed, 14 Feb 2007 22:40:00 GMT
The cornerstone to premiership success for any NRL team are their halves. It’s easy to point out the great one’s of the past yet it can be a thankless task trying to find the right future combo. On Saturday night, Wests Tigers fans will get to see their halfback in action for the first time this season when their side tackle the roosters for the foundation cup at Aussie Stadium. GRL caught up for a quick chat with John Morris.

GRL: John, a new season, a new coach and a new club. Big times ahead for you at the Wests Tigers.

JOHN MORRIS: Yeah, it is mate. I suppose anytime you go to a new club it’s a fresh start and you’re around different players, different coaches and it’s been good. Everyone here has welcomed me with open arms. The footy’s not too far away now, we can smell the games and the boys are starting to get a bit more excited.

GRL: One of the big selling points which convinced you to come to the Tigers was Tim Sheens. Was that because of his premiership record or more to do with his reputation for turning good players into great one’s?

JM: A bit of both. Anyone whose won the amount of premierships he has and coached the number of games, just the experience really is also important in being coached by someone like that. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I can feel improvement in my play already and it’s been good that he’s been there everyday to try and give me tips.

GRL: One of your big strengths is your passing game. Does that mean Benji is going to have to share more of the ball with you this season?

JM: Oh yeah, it’s going to be great to play with someone like him. We’ll probably play a bit differently to other halves. I won’t play a traditional halfback role.

GRL: Have you noticed anything different about working with Benji Marshall from working with Tim Smith?

JM: Their completely different players. Benji’s more of a running player who beats them on his feet and takes them on with his pace.Timmy was a great player too, he’s very good with his short passing and short kicking game and is a very tricky player. It is different and it’s been a challenge for me to adapt to that but I look forward to building that combination as it progresses.

GRL: We haven’t seen you player hooker in a while. Is that your least preferred position on the field?

JM: No, I wouldn’t really say that. I’m probably one of those rare players who can play a number of positions in the modern game. You’ve got players who can play in any given game in three or four positions and do them quite well. I just enjoy playing my footy anywhere.

GRL: You’ve been relatively injury free playing five-eighth over the last couple of seasons where as Benji Marshall has had a few shoulder problems. Is there a contingency plan if that happens this year?

JM: I don’t suppose you really want to plan for stuff like that because I think everyone is confident he’s fit. He’s fully rehabilitated from his shoulder and he’s ready to go. I’m sure we won’t have that problem but if he wasn’t to be there, we’ve got someone like Dean Collis and he’s going to be a very good talent for the Tigers and he could quite easily step into the number six. Hopefully we’ll be in better shape to handle it if that happens again this year.

GRL: Is this the club that you’d like to finish your career at?

JM: Hopefully I’ll be here for a long time and have a successful time here. At the moment I’m just focused on getting the job done and starting off well with the Tigers. That will look after itself. It’s just early days mate and there’s a long way to go.

GRL: As you’re the first guest from the game this year, you’re the first person to get asked the question no one wanted to us ask in 2007. What’s more important to you? Winning the Foundation Cup or the NRL Trophy?

JM: (laughs) Obviously the trophy at the end of the year but it’s important for us to start well. I don’t think we really have to come away with a win because we’re going to be playing some much younger blokes and stuff like that but we just need to put into play what we practiced over the whole of the off-season. That’s more important then getting a win. The boys are always competitive and when there’s a game on offer, you’ll always try and win it, so that’s (the Foundation Cup) going to be no different.


Wests Tigers: 1. Shannon McDonnell, 2 Daniel Fitzhenry, 3 Dean Collis, 4 Paul Whatuira, 5 Taniela Tuiaki, 6 Liam Fulton, 7 John Morris, 8 Todd Payten, 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Ryan O’Hara 11 Ben Galea, 12 Chris Heighington, 13 Dene Halatau, Interchange: 15 Chris Lawrence, 16 Tevita Metuisela, 17 Keith Galloway, 25 Stuart Flanagan, 20 Bryce Gibbs, 21 Danny Galea 24 Rocky Trimarchi Coach: Tim Sheens

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