It’s been nearly fourteen years since Josh Morris took to the field for his first NRL appearance, and what a memorable career that’s been forged from that day for one of rugby league’s favourite centres.
Celebrating 300 NRL games on Saturday night, Morris took some time to reflect on his career so far, the highly memorable moments from the past fourteen seasons and the people who have helped him along the way.
There’s not much left in the game for Morris to conquer, having enjoyed success in every facet of the game, while a Grand Final victory remains the focus for the veteran centre.
Discussing the 300 game milestone with the media ahead of Round 17, Morris stated the driving motivator that keeps him playing in the top grade and at such a high level.
“A Premiership has been a massive driver my whole career,” Morris said about winning an NRL Premiership.
“Towards the back end of my career, it’s one of the main reasons I get up every morning and compete against these younger fellas.
“I want to taste that success, it’s the last thing I have to tick off in my career.”
14 Years In The Making | Josh Morris
Morris joined the Tricolours in Round 3 of the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership season after a short but successful stint with the Cronulla Sharks, which saw him take his game to a new level and even get selected for the New South Wales Blues in Game One of the 2019 State Of Origin series.
While aware that he is in the closing stages of his illustrious career, it’s hard to contemplate leaving it all behind when you’re playing the game at such a high level.
“The last 50 games have probably been the most enjoyable, and I feel like I’m playing some of my best football as well.
“I’m very excited to reach the milestone, it’s been fourteen years in the making.”
Morris has always been a selfless player, not just with his teammates but with the people who are nearest and dearest in his life.
There have been many who have helped him along the way in his career, but his family immediately springs to mind when discussing who he’ll enjoy celebrating his milestone game with.
“It’s not only about me, it’s about my family as well and all the sacrifices they’ve made along the way to get me to where I am.
“It’s about bringing them along and celebrating this milestone with them as well.”
Morris made his NRL debut in 2007 against the Brisbane Broncos, lining up as a fullback for his first test in the top grade.
He remembers the day well, a warm afternoon at Suncorp Stadium and his nerves relatively at ease.
Rugby league is a game that has you constantly learning lessons, so it’s safe to say that Josh has learnt a few along the way and he noted the major ones he’s learnt since making his debut.
“I’m a lot wiser.
“I have that game sense and that anticipation.
“I think I’m a more well rounded footballer and probably have a better temperament.
“I don’t get phased by the little things anymore.”
He recalled a favourite moment for many New South Welshmen when discussing his career, one that many remember from 2014 when he famously chased down Greg Inglis for a try saving tackle while receiving treatment on his injured knee.
His brother was also forced to battle through pain in that match, dislocating his shoulder while scoring the Blues first try of the night.
Morris recalls waking up in the morning and sharing a laugh with his brother over the two battling to move after a vicious battle at Suncorp Stadium.
“Coming into that series, we had a cry that was “whatever it takes” and “it stops now”.
“It was about doing whatever we could.
“When I hurt my knee and saw them coming towards him (Brett), I thought I’ve got to get up and help him.
“It was trying to help him, and doing whatever it took to get the victory.”
As he’s always played the game, with grit, passion and plenty of character.
He will line-up for his 300th NRL match when the Sydney Roosters take on the Canberra Raiders on Saturday night and add another page to what’s been a memorable rugby league career.