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NRL Family Stories: The Morrises

Steve Morris played almost 250 first-grade games, won a premiership, scored 122 tries and represented his state and country during an incredible career.

And yet he freely admits his twin sons Brett and Josh have "smacked my backside well and truly" in terms of rugby league achievements.

Thanks to EISS Super, NRL.com is focusing on some of the game's greatest family stories. Hailing from the NSW south coast, the Morrises certainly rank among the most famous footballing kins.

No immediate family comes close to the combined haul of 417 first-grade tries by the three Morrises. And Sydney Roosters stars Josh and Brett are still adding to the total as they near their 34th birthday.

"I thought I had a pretty good career, but compared to Josh and Brett, they've achieved what I achieved and lots more," Steve told NRL.com.

"Not in a million years would I have thought one let alone two sons would achieve what they've achieved. And the longevity of their careers ... it's pretty incredible, really.

"Every week I'm in awe watching them go around at their age. It's remarkable watching them for so long."

Brett Morris picks the pass up and beats two

Steve, nicknamed "Slippery", blazed the trail to the big league, representing Australia in 1978 while still playing club football for NSW country team Dapto.

He began his NSWRFL premiership career with a grand final victory at St George in 1979 – being crowned man of the match – playing 179 games in the Red V before moving to Eastern Suburbs in 1987.

A halfback-cum-winger, Slippery chalked up 246 premiership appearances as well as five NSW caps and a lone Test for Australia.

Brett made his NRL debut for St George Illawarra in 2006, with Josh joining him the next season. More than 250 games each down the track, the twins have solidified their place in NRL history.

Proud father Steve said the duo were always special athletes as kids.

"They'd go to state for sprinting, they played all sports – cricket, basketball, even baseball at one stage," Steve said. "They just loved their sports. They were brilliant at touch footy with their pace.

"You always think they're going to grow up and be able to do it [professionally], but in your wildest dreams you [wouldn't] think they're going to be as good as what they've achieved."

Having set a lofty bar for his sons, Slippery said Josh and Brett have taken delight in surpassing their old man's records.

"Every time they achieved something, for example if it was I'd played 200 games, once they got to 201 they'd let me know!" he said.

"Or if I scored 120 tries in my career and they scored 121, they'd let me know! They were sort of using me as a benchmark."

Josh Morris scores his first Roosters try

Only counting immediate family members, the trio easily have the most first-grade tries among clans.

Other prolific try-scoring families (not necessarily immediate) include Bill Mullins, his brothers Russell and Terry and son Brett (281 combined tries on record); the distantly-related Jason and Jarrod Croker (247); Reg Gasnier, his nephew Mark and cousin Dennis Tutty (237); and Mortimer brothers Chris, Steve, Glen, Peter and his son Daniel (216).

Brett Morris ranks ninth on the all-time try-scorer list with 156, Josh sits equal 21st with 139 and Steve is equal 35th with 122.

Brett and Josh are the only brothers to have each scored 100 tries.

"I think we've all got really good upper body strength [which helps us score tries]," Steve said.

"Even though I'm a little bloke, my upper body strength was really good. And speed beats everything in rugby league. I always worked on my velocity – mass times acceleration. A little bloke can beat a big bloke if he's going faster.

"I used to tell [the twins], 'You're quick – that's what it's all about, off the mark. Once you're through, you're gone. No one can catch you.' So speed was the big thing. And they worked on it. You can't buy it."

Josh and Brett were separated in 2009 when coach Wayne Bennett's arrival at the Dragons pushed Josh to Canterbury, where he set about becoming one of the game's premier centres.

Brett's star rose quickly too, with the winger bagging 25 tries in 24 matches as St George Illawarra won the 2009 minor premiership. The twins both debuted for Australia that year and Josh represented NSW for the first time.

"B-Moz" earned his Origin stripes in 2010 and also tasted premiership glory for the first time – a feat that has so far eluded Josh, who fell short in the 2012 and '14 grand finals with the Bulldogs.

The pair won their first Origin series in 2014, helping to break Queensland's record eight-year streak.

The twins reunited in clubland when Brett joined the Bulldogs in 2015. They enjoyed some finals success but were forced to go their separate ways in 2019 because of Canterbury's salary cap issues.

Following in Steve's footsteps, Brett landed at the Roosters, playing a big role in last year's premiership win, while Josh helped the Sharks reach the finals.

The planets aligned earlier this year, with Latrell Mitchell's departure from the Roosters freeing up room for Josh. After a drawn-out release from Cronulla, he made the switch to the Tricolours in round three.

The duo has wound back the clock in 2020, with fans, pundits and teammates alike marvelling at their consistency.

Sydney Roosters players Brett and Josh Morris.
Sydney Roosters players Brett and Josh Morris. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner enthused earlier this week that the Morris boys could easily continue into 2021 if they so desire.

Their father agrees.

"Their careers have been pretty much like mine. I was 33 when I retired but I knew in my last year I hit a wall and your body can't keep going anymore," Steve said.

"They seem to be still playing really good football ... Obviously they've still got the urge and they're enjoying it, so there's no reason they couldn't."

Brett's tally currently stands at 258 NRL games, 15 Origins and 18 Tests, while Josh has 292 NRL games, 15 Origins and six Tests.