Having arrived at Bondi Junction after a four-year stint with the Bulldogs, Morris said that being the ‘new guy’ in a premiership-winning team had been a welcome challenge.
“It’s pretty cool, to be honest. You’ve got to prove yourself to these guys and earn their trust and their respect,” said Morris, a 2010 grand final winner with St George Illawarra.
“Everyone within the club, from administrators down to players and back-room staff, they’re all a joy to work with. It’s been a really good year for me.”
A knee injury that sidelined him earlier in the year was giving him no ongoing trouble, and he said the topic of workload management had not even been broached with conditioning staff.
It’s now common to see NBA stars such as Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James sitting out games to be fresh for the play-offs, but Morris wants to play as much as possible.
“This team’s playing some wonderful footy and if someone else jumps in your spot, you never know if you’ll get it back,” he said.
Since a mid-season slump, the Roosters have been red hot, winning eight of their last 10, – but coach Trent Robinson still wants more from his players, blasting them after a sloppy second half where the Dragons made what was a 34-0 scoreline far more respectable.
“We just sort of went away from what works for us. In the second half we took our foot off the pedal, didn’t get through our sets,” Morris said.
With two games to go, the Roosters are have all but secured a second-place finish – with the Panthers and Rabbitohs to come before the finals.
Penrith are playing for their season in this Saturday’s game, and Morris said he was relishing the chance to play against a team with everything to lose.
“These are the sorts of games you do enjoy playing because you know teams are desperate and they’re going to throw all sorts of things at you and you’ve got to be on your toes,” he said.
Morris was also asked about new player behaviour guidelines, which would see mandatory penalties introduced for off-field indiscretions, with a sliding scale of severity similar to the NRL judiciary.
“I suppose it’s a good thing, isn’t it?” he said, while adding he wasn’t too familiar with the situation yet.
“Obviously you don’t want to see the game shed in a bad light, but we are human and humans make mistakes.”
“Some guys have paid a hefty toll for their mistakes and they’ll learn a valuable life lesson.”
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.