Morris snr in awe of modern athletes

Brett Morris with father Steve, who had a distinguished career with St George.  Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN
Brett Morris with father Steve, who had a distinguished career with St George. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN


Hours spent practising leaping and diving from spring-loaded floorboards at a Wollongong gym helped Brett Morris score the try that his famous father Steve describes as the best he has seen.

Brett goes into Saturday night's Men of League Heritage Round clash with South Sydney at the SCG equal with Steve's record of 102 tries in the famous Red V jersey but a lot has changed in the 25 years since Morris senior last played and he now marvels at the feats of modern-day wingers.

"That try Brett scored against Cronulla, I have been watching footy for 50 years and that is the best try I have ever seen," Steve said of Brett's spectacular mid-air effort two weeks ago.

"I remember when I was about 13 years old seeing Graham Langlands do something like that in a World Cup where he dived full length and that to me was the best try I had seen until then.

"I was a winger but we didn't have to go up high for the balls like that.

"The athleticism of wingers these days is unbelievable. They are just so professional now and you can't make a mistake. It is a different game to even 10 years ago."

For that, NRL fans can thank technology, full-time training and recent rule changes, such as the removal of the corner post.

If Brett sees another winger score a spectacular try, the St George Illawarra Test star will study what they did and practice it a training.

"Every time you see one you think how did he do that and then when you go out on the training paddock you have a little bit of a muck around to try to do the same thing," he said.

"You just put it up there in your head and then in a game if the opportunity comes you try to do something similar."

The Dragons wingers and fullbacks will often stay back after training for about 30 minutes to do extra practice fielding kicks in both attack and defence and Morris said they began doing regular sessions at North Wollongong PCYC when Wayne Bennett began coaching the club in 2009.

"We do a fair bit of training, we used to go down to the PCYC in Wollongong probably once or twice a week and do a fair bit of practice," the 27-year-old Kiama junior said.

"The floor there is spongy and they have these little boards underneath so that when you jump you get extra bounce.

"It allows you to get your technique right because you get more time in the air than you normally would.

"You also find ways to land, you aren't going to land properly and clean every single time but you just try to roll out of them the best you can without landing on anything that is going to hurt."

The removal of the corner post gives wingers one less thing to worry about and Morris said that was a positive move by the league.

"It has been good for the game, it makes it a lot more exciting when it comes to those tries in the corner," he said.

Arguably the most consistent winger of the past five years, Morris was ranked No 1 according to Sports Data's Contributor Value Rankings in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and is third so far this season behind Parramatta's Semi Radrada and St George Illawarra teammate Jason Nightingale.

Besides his 102 tries for the Dragons, he has also scored 21 tries in 17 Tests for Australia and two for NSW in nine State of Origin appearances.

"I never thought I would get to 100 tries but it is a huge achievement and something I am pretty proud of and when I am at the end of my career it will be special to look back on," Morris said.

"There is not a whole lot of people who can say that they have played NRL at the highest level and scored 100 tries, and not only that but their dad has done it as well.

"I am very proud of my father's career and I am sure he is very proud of the way I have played in my career up to date. Hopefully I can get over the stripe this week and rub it in that I have knocked him off the [family] try tally and I am No 1."

With Steve also scoring 19 tries for the Roosters, the pair are set to be the most prolific try-scoring father and son combination in NRL history, as their combined tally of 223 tries is just three behind Bill and Brett Mullins.

"Brett will probably score a lot more tries than I ever scored," Steve said.

"He is a very competitive guy, ever since he started playing first grade, whenever we go out for a bit of a drink or whatever, he has always wanted to achieve better than whatever I have done and he has done it. I think he has virtually done everything, there is not much more he can do. He has virtually flogged me."



Greatest try-scoring pairings

Bill (104) and Brett Mullins (122)

Steve (121) and Brett Morris (102)

Steve (90) and Mat Rogers (107)


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