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Why Brett Morris belongs in the debate for best winger of all time

Whether or not we see Brett Morris on the field again, his legacy as one of the all-time great wingers is undisputed.

The numbers tell the story for the 34-year-old, who suffered an ACL injury in the Roosters’ 38-4 win over the Knights on Saturday night.

In an illustrious 275-match NRL career, Morris has scored 176 tries - the fourth most of any player in history behind legendary Bears winger Ken Irvine, retired Storm star Billy Slater and Manly great Steven Menzies - at a strike rate of 0.64 per game.

He won two premierships - one with the Dragons in 2010 and the other as a Rooster in 2019 - and represented NSW and Australia.

That his playing days have likely come to an abrupt end is all the more unfortunate considering Morris was in top form, having bagged 11 tries in seven games in 2021 including two hat-tricks.

Irvine's record of 212 premiership tries - 171 for Norths and another 41 in a three-year stint at Manly at the end of his career - may have been out of reach even if he stayed fit and played next year, but Morris was fast approaching Steve Menzies (180) and Billy Slater (190).

Jamie Soward, who played alongside Morris at St George Illawarra from 2007-13, says the veteran is the best winger he's seen - ranking him above Wendell Sailor, another ex-Dragons teammate.

"The longevity of what B-Moz has been able to do and [his ability to] reinvent himself, I think that's underestimated," said Soward, who conceded he might be biased.

"When he left the Dragons to go to the Bulldogs [in 2015], I don't know if we ever thought he was going to be the finisher that he was at the Dragons.

"To go to the Roosters and stop tries defensively – I look back to that [2019] grand final against the Raiders, he could've been the Clive Churchill Medallist. They were targeting him and he was able to do that.

"If you're picking two wingers, it'd be Dell and B-Moz – I've been lucky to play with both – but for me it's Brett [as the greatest]."

Morris is renowned for his class as a person as much as his incredible skills and Soward said he was "always happy" at St George Illawarra.

"He was probably my best mate at the Dragons when I was there," Soward added.

"I remember he got dropped in 2009 for Dell and Jase [Nightingale], but he went back and worked on his craft - his speed, his ability to pick up a loose ball and turn it into a try."

Match Highlights: Dragons v Roosters

Speaking on Monday, Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves recounted Morris's emotional address to the team in the sheds following what could have been his final NRL appearance.

"He said to be able to captain the side and one of the most prestigious clubs that he's been a part of, and to be sent out a winner, he just said 'thank you'," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

"Just a few things that were really nice. Things that I'll remember for a long time, for sure … He sort of said he ain't going anywhere [and will stay involved with the team while injured].

"I think it's four weeks or something until he gets the operation. He'll be around for sure."

Second-rower Angus Crichton described Morris going down as "heartbreaking".

"It was tough to watch as a teammate, tough to watch as a friend and someone who genuinely cares about Brett," Crichton said.

"I think life's not fair sometimes and he's the first one to say [that]. You've just got to get on with it, you can't change what's happened … But sometimes it's just such a cruel game.

Brett Morris picks the favourite tries of his career

"He's been a great performer for our team and it's been an honour to play alongside him. He's just a really good man and he's done everything the right way.

"As a young guy to come through and see a leader like Brett play the way he does, prepare the way he does every week, I feel very lucky and honoured to play alongside him."

James Tedesco is set to return from a head knock at fullback for Friday's clash against Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium with Matt Ikuvalu tipped to take Morris's spot.

The Roosters are still hoping to add All Blacks star TJ Perenara to their books for the rest of the year with his decision on a code-switch expected imminently.

Perenara would provide dummy-half depth.

"I spoke with Sonny Bill and he reckons he's close mates with TJ and he's close [to signing] possibly," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

Morris injury may green light Suaalii debut

"We’d love to have a guy of his calibre amongst our squad, especially now with the injuries."

As Morris left the field on Saturday night with the aid of two trainers, there was criticism in some quarters of the lack of a medicab for the injured winger, but Robinson confirmed post-match that the veteran had refused a medicab.

NRL head of football Graham Annesley confirmed on Monday that the Knights did have a medicab at the ready but in keeping with the bravery he showed throughout his career Morris opted for the slow and painful walk under his own steam.


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Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.