Australian Test half Johnathan Thurston takes no credit for Michael Morgan’s rich vein of form, saying he’s in career-best touch because of his own self belief and calmness.
As Morgan prepares to take control of North Queensland in his second NRL grand final in three years, many commentators have credited Thurston with being the brains behind the bump up in Morgan’s form.
The 25-year-old has been the nucleus of the Cowboys winning streak from eighth position on the ladder to grand finalist with wins over fifth-ranked Cronulla, fourth-ranked Parramatta and second-ranked Sydney Roosters.
But Thurston said Morgan could take a bow himself ahead of Sunday’s decider against Melbourne.
“It’s started coming to him naturally. He’s a pretty deep thinker Morgs. He’s got a great awarenes of the game,” Thurston told Triple-M radio.
“He just needed that self belief. All the boys around him know how good he is but he’s too humble of a person to talk about it.
“He’s finally realised how good he can be and with that comes experience.
“He’s playing the best footy of his life,” Thurston said.
“His calmness as well. He doesn’t ever look too frantic.
“That real calmness you need in big games as the chief playmaker. You don’t want to be running around erratic as that will affect the playing group.
“He’s calm and controlled and you need that from your chief playmaker.”
Morgan has moved from No.6 into the No.7 jersey after Thurston, the Cowboys co-captain and grand final hero in the 17-16 extra time win over Brisbane in 2015, underwent shoulder surgery in late June.
That allowed mid-season signing from Penrith, Te Maire Martin, to slot into No.6.
“He’s a really good kid actually,” Thurston said of Martin, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday.
“He wants to learn the game. He’s always asking questions about different situations like ‘what should I do here?’
“He’s helping out Morgo with things. He’s been a great addition for us this year and playing some really good footy for us as well.
“He’s very comfortable in the team now and formed a really good relationship with Morgo, taking the heat off Morgo a bit.”