Filling JT's Boots

This year has been a real coming of age story for, Australia and North Queensland Cowboys halfback Michael Morgan, with Johnathon Thurston side-lined for large parts of the season.

Back in June, Thurston confirmed that his season was over, with surgery required to resolve a shoulder injury sustained while playing. He picked up the injury in a mid-year test match, playing for the Australian Kangaroos and never really recovered.

This was when the spotlight was thrust upon Michael Morgan, for; club, country and state. Morgan would have to step up and do the seemingly impossible, replace Johnathon Thurston. The Cowboys looked a less frightening prospect without talisman JT on the team sheet, but Morgan was pulling the strings and steering his side to the finals once more.

The Cowboys did reach the grand final and unfortunately in that game it showed just how much of a difference, not having Thurston makes to this side. It was tough lesson to learn for this young Cowboys side, in particular Michael Morgan, who many people pinpointed as not influential enough in the loss to Melbourne. Morgan finished up the season with the NRL's most assists, 23, showing just how influential he can and will be in years to come.

We now arrive here, the 2017 World Cup, surprise surprise, Australia are in the final. Morgan has been pivotal in every performance of Australia's, he has been a real pleasure to watch, but the halfback knows he has a stubborn English defence to try and breakdown. How he performs will really show how much he learnt and improved in the last year or so. Morgan needs to take control of the game and really make it is.

The problem Michael Morgan has is that regardless of how well he plays, he will always be compared to Johnathon Thurston, stepping out of such a great players shadow is a near impossible task and can put immense psychological strain on a player. Michael has shown what a class act he is and that he is more than ready to inherit the legendary 6 jersey for years to come.



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