Combinations the key: Josh Morris
Canterbury-Bankstown centre Josh Morris says the high-flying form of the first-placed Bulldogs justifies the inclusion of a few more of his teammates for the 2014 Origin series, while also sharing his secret to shutting down Maroons X-factor Greg Inglis.
Morris played all three games in 2013 but aside from a handful of minutes off the bench in Games I and II from five-eighth Josh Reynolds, he was the only member of his club to feature in the series.
But with the side now running hot and showing the propensity to find ways to win tough, close games, there are four Bulldogs in the 2014 side in the form of Morris, halves pairing Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson and back-rower Tony Williams on the Blues bench.
"When your team's going well those kind of rewards fall into place so it's a big thank you to our teammates for getting us here. They've got a tough game this week against the Roosters too so there's a few of us in here from both sides so we'll be watching that for sure!" Morris said.
He said his club halves boasted complementary games and should prove a big asset to the Blues.
"I'm interested to see how [Hodkinson] goes, he's a pretty calm and composed guy. He's a helluva defender whenever I'm next to him in the defensive line so I've got no doubts he'll be fine there. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he goes and how Josh [Reynolds] goes getting a starting spot, off the bench from last year."
Morris said Hodkinson was as calm and composed as he seems.
"He brings a calmness to our team – they're at the different ends of the scale, Josh and Trent; Josh is 100 miles an hour and Trent is the calming influence and steers the team around so they've got a good balance there. I think it's going to help this team."
Morris also believed Williams was ready for another shot after playing two games off the bench in 2012 in Origin I and III – the latter after being rushed back from a back injury with not enough footy under his belt.
"T-Rex has been outstanding for us. With Frank [Pritchard] getting injured he's moved back over to the left-hand side and playing 80 minutes which is something he wasn't doing as much last year," Morris said.
"He's just simplified his game I think, just getting out there and running hard and making people weary. He's a big human and he's pretty intimidating so he's probably just simplified his game and it's suited him.
"He's really happy with the way he's performed and really happy to be in the team again."
Morris himself has drawn plenty of plaudits in recent series for his work in keeping Inglis quiet, although he said marking the big Rabbitohs fullback never gets any easier.
"In my eyes he's still the best centre in the world. He's a very dangerous player, I look forward to playing him," Morris said.
"He's a hard man to contain and I do my best and try not to let anyone down."
So the secret to stopping him?
"You just gotta try and get as close as possible, try and not get fended in the face and not made to look like a fool I guess!" Morris laughed.
"It gives me good confidence getting picked in the side knowing that I'm doing that job – if I wasn't doing it well enough I probably wouldn't be in the side so it definitely gives me that confidence with that kind of thing."
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