World Club Challenge: How Adrian Morley became a Sydney Roosters legend
|World Club Challenge: Wigan v Sydney Roosters|
|Venue: DW Stadium Date: Sunday, 17 February Kick-off: 19:45 GMT|
|Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio Manchester plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website|
Adrian Morley’s ‘little book’ helped him become a Sydney Roosters legend in six blockbusting years down under.
And his love affair with the Tricolours endures. He may be a proud Brit, but he’s tipping his former Aussie club to lift the World Club title against Wigan on Sunday.
“If it had been any other Australian team, I’d have been going for the English side,” Morley told the 5 Live Rugby League podcast. “But I had only one side in Australia and I have quite an affiliation with them.
“The fans were absolutely brilliant to me, they enjoyed the way I played because I left everything out there. They made banners and they sang my song.
“So, sorry if you’re a Wigan fan, but I’ll be cheering on the Roosters this weekend.”
Roosters move a gamble
Morley took a gamble on a career down under as a 23-year-old in 2001. At the time it was not fashionable for British players to move to the NRL.
He took a pay cut to test himself in what he considered the best competition in the world, and he does not regret a single moment.
“I got offered more money to stay in the Super League, but I thought if I didn’t go now, I might not get another opportunity,” Morley said.
“I was really pleased with how it went. It does help when you win a Grand Final and make two more Grand Finals. It was a fantastic time.”
Feared and respected in the NRL – the ‘little book’
The hard-hitting prop joined up with his former Leeds coach Graham Murray at the Roosters and quickly became one of the most feared forwards in the competition.
Morley is still rated as one of the best English imports by Aussie fans and he’s got his ‘little book’ to thank.
“Someone from Canterbury Bankstown had written in the paper something like ‘we’re not scared of the Roosters forwards’.
“As I walked into the changing rooms [my team-mates] said ‘have you seen that?’, so I said don’t worry he’s in the book.” says Morley. “That day I battered him all game.
“The following week [then-Roosters coach] Ricky Stewart asked who was in the book that week, and I picked a random name from their forwards and said: ‘He is!’ And again I battered him all game.
“That was it then. I got my team-mates coming up to me and asking ‘Mozza, can you put so and so in the book because I don’t like him’ and I’d tell them get your own book,” he laughs.
“It was a bit of fun, but it was important for me because it gave me a focus to target someone.
“I knew I was onto something when I’d be out in Sydney in a bar, having a drink with opposing players. We’d have a few beers and then they’d say ‘You’re not going to put me in the book are you?’ and I thought – ‘I’ve got you!’ That was the tool I used.”
Will Wigan be able to stop the Chooks?
Morley starred in one World Club Challenge victory for the Roosters, scoring a try in their 38-0 drubbing of St Helens in 2003.
He doesn’t think the current NRL Champions will have it all their own way this time around, but he is confident they will win.
“I just think the Roosters will be a bit strong for Wigan. The amount of experienced personnel Wigan have lost will have an effect.” he says.
“I know the Roosters have come over early because they want to win it, going to Paris and playing a trial game over there.
“Wigan have the luxury that they will have played two fully-fledged, competitive Super League games and it won’t be a landslide by any means. But I think the Roosters will be too strong.”