Morgan groomed as long-term Test half

Nerves are not a problem for Michael Morgan ahead of his Kangaroos debut.


But that may soon change.

Especially if he hears the bold plan Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has in store for the North Queensland playmaker.

Morgan will don the green and gold on the bench after being named as one of four rookies in Meninga’s Test squad for next week’s trans-Tasman clash in Newcastle.

Yet Meninga believed he had seen enough from Morgan to convince him he could become a long-term Test half.

Meninga likened Morgan’s journey to that of Cooper Cronk who was groomed on the Test bench before snapping up the Kangaroos halfback reins.

“Cooper benefitted from learning his trade coming off the bench and bringing energy into the team off the bench,” Meninga told the Former Origin Greats website.

“When the time came for him to take over the starting role in the team, it was an easy and comfortable transition for him to make.

“There is no reason why Michael cannot do the same, with both Cooper and Johnathan Thurston coming to the ends of their careers.

“He has an opportunity to cement his place in the team now, and it is up to him to grab it.”

Meninga said Morgan’s 2015 NRL grand final heroics showed he could step up to Test level.

“We saw in last year’s grand final that he is not afraid to back himself in pressure situations to come up with the right play,” he said.

“It was his cool thinking and execution under pressure that led to Kyle Feldt’s try to save the game (sending it to extra-time), and ultimately deliver the Cowboys the premiership.

“Morgo is getting better and better with experience.”

Morgan said he was probably the most surprised by his Kangaroos selection.

“I know there was talk about it (his Roos selection) but it’s not something I thought would happen,” he said.

“I am glad it has.”

Asked if it would be difficult to temper his Test nerves and concentrate on Saturday night’s NRL clash with Manly, Morgan said: “Not really.

“I am being pretty relaxed about it at the moment.

“Once I get into camp I am sure that is when it will sink in.

“I have just seen my name on a team list so I am fine with it at the moment.”