Brett Morris returning to the Sydney Roosters backline both pleases and slightly terrifies True Blue Jamie Soward as he plots to limit the 35-year-old’s influence.
Soward, in his capacity as one of the assistant coaches at St George Illawarra, must work on strategies to try to contain ‘B-Moz’ at the annual Anzac Day clash at the SCG on Sunday.
He is the NRL’s leading try scorer with 11, along with 21 tackle busts and nine line breaks in five games. Morris returns to the Roosters line-up after missing the 20-4 loss to the Storm the previous round because of a calf muscle strain.
“It does help … it’s a bit of a headache for me in previewing what we need to do at the Dragons to beat him this weekend,” Soward told NSWRL’s ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ podcast.
“He gives so much confidence to the side and gives Joey Manu confidence defensively and then knowing they are going to be able to diffuse kicks.
“As a back-three it doesn’t get any better than (James) Tedesco, Morris and (Daniel) Tupou.”
Tupou’s good form so far in 2021 could bring him back into the Bryden’s Lawyers NSW Blues team, according to Soward.
As for the Dragons, Soward said at the start of the 2021 season few would have rated the St George Illawarra pack.
“Guys like Paul Vaughan and Tariq Sims have played Origin, and you look at some of the additions we’ve had … Andrew McCullough is such a fantastic leader and then you get Josh McGuire on the weekend,” he said.
“It’s a sort of rag and tag pack … but they’ve worked really hard for each other to compete and put our try scorers in fantastic positions.”
Playing 22 games with the Roosters before his 140 with the Dragons, Soward is accustomed to the Anzac Day tradition and emotions.
“The build-up was like a semi-final ... everyone’s focus was on it,” he said.
“I played when it was the only game on Anzac Day so the build-up and the excitement walking into the ground – you could just feel it.
“Once the Last Post is played everyone takes a moment to realise how lucky we are to be able to play sport on that day, versus the men and women who fight and serve our country to protect our freedom.
“It’s emotional (hearing the bugle) because I would never have had the courage to go and do what those men and women did before me and still do today.
“It’s a real respect thing and recognition of the sacrifices they’ve made.”