Maroons player Michael Morgan during State of Origin II.
Maroons player Michael Morgan during State of Origin II. DAVE HUNT

Maroons' miracle man plans to run Blues ragged

THE mastermind behind two of the most thrilling tries in rugby league history is set to bring his running game to Origin.

Michael Morgan will line up at centre in the Origin decider after Queensland announced Cameron Munster would make his Maroons debut at five-eighth.

Far from being disappointed though, Morgan sees the change as an opportunity to concentrate on his running game, a generally under-rated aspect of his play despite the massive dividends it has brought.

Morgan was the architect of the try that helped North Queensland's Kyle Feldt level the grand final in 2015 and his magical flick pass for Dane Gagai helped Queensland to a series-levelling win in Origin II.

"Obviously I do prefer playing in the halves but from a team point of view I completely understand the decision and I'm more than happy with it," Morgan said of coach Kevin Walters' decision to play Munster at five-eighth, giving Queensland an all-Melbourne spine.

"The difference between the two positions it that centre is a lot more individually focused. You're not talking and organising anywhere near as what you do in the halves.

"So it gives me a chance to focus more on my own game."

That could be a boon for Queensland, with Morgan more than capable of coming up with a big play at a crucial moment.

Both his pass for Feldt and last month's miracle ball for Gagai were instinctive plays, honed after years of playing league and touch football.

"It's not something I sort of plan on doing ever," he said of the flick passes.

"But I've played footy for a number of years and a lot of touch footy growing up - I played that all through my juniors and actually enjoyed it more than rugby league - so it's just reaction really and playing a lot of footy over the years.

"It's just that opportunities present themselves and I've been lucky that those two (passes) have come off. There's probably other games where I've tried something and it hasn't come off. I'm lucky those two get remembered a bit more than other things."

Morgan said he was confident he could shut down Blues threat Josh Dugan.

"There obviously is a lot of one-on-one situations so your one-on-one defence has to be good," he said.

"And against Josh Dugan, who is a very good attacking player, and a big body as well, the one-on-one defence has to be good.

"That's where there biggest challenge will be and I have confidence in the guys around me to help. I'll make sure we train well this week so I take a good mindset into the game."

Morgan could find himself in the halves in stints though, with Walters leaving open the option for him and Munster to switch during the game.

"Kev said we're more than welcome to (switch places). He'll leave that up to us given it's Cam's first game and I'm sure he might be feeling tired," Morgan said.

"That's one way I can try to help him I suppose. Being right beside each other on the same side of the field, it's not a huge thing to try and do.

"This week at training I'm out to help Cam as much as possible. So it's better he trains a lot more at No.6 than anything else."

While Morgan has a strong connection to most of his left-side partners - he's clubmates with back-rower Gavin Cooper and a Kangaroos teammate of Valentine Holmes - he has not played with Munster before and the pair will need to forge a quick and strong bond.

"I've played against him a few times but never actually with him," Morgan said.

"But I thought we trained pretty well ... as an edge defending and attacking. I felt pretty comfortable there."

News Corp Australia

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