Lachlan Lam, Sitili Tupouniua and Matt Ikuvalu have paid their tributes to teammate Brett Morris, sharing their personal experiences on how the veteran winger influenced their careers following his retirement announcement earlier this week.
The trio also expect a tough match against the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday afternoon, citing the need to build on their Round 12 match against the Canberra Raiders as they enter the second half of the season.
Brett Morris Retirement Announcement
Taking over Morris' role on the right wing, Ikuvalu expressed his gratitude for having the 276-game veteran as a mentor both on and off the field.
“To be honest he’s been everything,” he said.
“He’s been massive for me. It's the little things he did mentoring me in my position, but even in the sheds he talked to me about how he fathers his kids. I’ve recently become a father myself and he’s given me little tips and tricks, I’ve taken that on board, and I love those little things.
“On the field, he helped me improve on myself. Instead of focusing on my weaknesses, he helped me to work on my strengths and he’s given me so much more confidence in myself and my abilities.”
“Everyone has seen what he’s done on the field, scoring those tries and putting on those plays, but he’s also been a great mentor to us to the younger players," Tupouniua added.
I’ve been lucky at this Club to be able to play with guys that I watched growing up and BMoz is definitely one of them.Lachlan Lam Roosters Five-Eighth
“The way he gets himself ready for a game, his weekly preparation and watching him week-in-week-out, I guess that shows why he had the career he had. He prepared himself every day and I know a lot of us saw him and took a little bit from him.
“He gave me a lot of confidence in times where I had questioned what I had to do, he always came and talked to me about my role and responsibility and how I could make things easier for myself. Having him out there at the beginning of this year helped me a lot with understanding how I can improve out on the edges."
The opportunity to play alongside one of the game's greatest wingers is Lam will cherish, with the experience all the more special having grown up around Morris as his own career began to blossom.
“It was pretty special for me because my dad was actually at the Dragons when I was around ten or eleven and I got to watch him run around there," Lam revealed.
“It was really special to be so young and see him play there, watch him through his whole career and then end up playing with him. I’ve been lucky at this Club to be able to play with guys that I watched growing up and BMoz is definitely one of them.
“He’s the best winger to ever play the game – in my opinion. Because he was so at ease with it, it made it easier for everyone there. His head was completely around it and I think it was a lot easier for the squad to accept it too."
I haven’t watched a whole lot of the Titans, but they can definitely be unpredictable. We’ll be focusing on what we can do and how we can stop them. We’ve got our game plan and we’ll be ready to go.Sitili Tupouniua Roosters Second Rower
Despite State of Origin being the focus for Rugby League pundits and supporters this week, the Tricolours will be fixated on their clash against the Gold Coast Titans as they travel up to Queensland on Saturday afternoon.
While the contest poses as another must-win match for the triumvirate of Roosters, the focus is solely on what they can do on the field, not on their opponents.
“The week is the same as usual," said Tupouniua.
"We come together, connect and we look to improve on what we need to and we’ll continue to play the Roosters style.
“I haven’t watched a whole lot of the Titans, but they can definitely be unpredictable. We’ll be focusing on what we can do and how we can stop them. We’ve got our game plan and we’ll be ready to go."
“We’ve got to be prepared for them to be at the top of their game,” Lam added.
“It’s just like every other team every other week – you’ve got to go in with that same attitude that you’ll face a team at their best. We want to build on our win against Canberra so we can get the two points.”
The key to victory was simple for Ikuvalu: “Playing our Roosters style of footy."
“We’re going into the game thinking about us and how we’re going to play our footy rather than who our opponent is. No matter who it is, we’re going to play our style and focus on how we play and build from that Canberra game.
“That was a good platform for us, and coming into this Titans game, it won’t matter who we play or what their weaknesses are. We’ll just be ready to play.”
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