Brett Morris calls on fans to respect Soward

RUGBY LEAGUE

Dragons international Brett Morris has urged the team's fans to show 2010 premiership teammate Jamie Soward respect when he returns to WIN Stadium with Penrith on Sunday.

Jamie Soward

Jamie Soward

In Tuesday's Illawarra Mercury, Soward said he expected a hostile reception from the Red V fans, after his time at the club came to a sour end mid-season last year, when he fell out with former coach Steve Price and was dropped to the Illawarra Cutters.

A missed penalty goal that would have sent the Dragons' round 12 match with the Bulldogs into golden point extra time proved his last act for the club, before a stint in the English Super League and his highly successful switch to the foot of the mountains this year.

Soward faced off against his former teammates this year in the Panthers' 18-14 victory over his old club in round 14, but Sunday's match will be the first time he has returned to the venue he called home during his seven-year stint with the Dragons.

Soward said on Monday he expects to be "bagged" by the crowd when he runs out in Panthers garb but Morris hopes that's not the case.

"The Dragons fans really took a liking to Sowie when he was here. I think the Dragons fans really respect him as a player and it's probably one of the worst things you can do to a player like that - boo him as he runs out.

"Sowie's a bloke who wears his heart on his sleeve so he's obviously going to be pretty pumped up for this game.

Morris said a pumped-up Soward was just one of the Dragons' concerns as they take on a Panthers side fresh off a 22-16 win over the Bulldogs last week.

The Dragons need to win four of their last five games to make the finals and will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time under Paul McGregor.

"They're coming off a good win against the Doggies and they're a quality side," Morris said.

"They're a very young side but they're playing with a lot of confidence and we've got to take that into account.

McGregor named an unchanged line-up on Tuesday with Bronson Harrison and Dan Hunt added to the 17 that played against the Roosters on Saturday.

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