You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Morris grateful for the coaches he learnt under

True Blue Brett Morris believes he’s had some of the best tutors possible for becoming a head coach in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, which begins this weekend (7-10 March).

He played for the game’s most successful coach Wayne Bennett at the St George Illawarra Dragons, and premiership winners Des Hasler at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, followed by Trent Robinson at the Sydney Roosters.

All have provided Morris with great foundations for him to kick-start his own coaching career with the Sydney Roosters NSW Cup side.

“They all each had their strengths and weaknesses, but it wasn’t hard to pick out the best bits in all of them,” Morris told as he prepares for Round One against Penrith this Saturday (9 March) at St Marys Leagues Stadium.

“Wayne is a great people person, great motivator, cares about his players and knows how to get the best out of them.

“Des is a very technical, detailed coach. Some of the times you ran out on the field you knew the opposition better than they knew themselves.

“With Robbo you got the same sort of thing – the detail, the smarts – and he was a great people-coach as well.

“I’ve picked out bits and pieces from all of them to get me through my pre-season.”

Morris had a highly decorated career as a player – 15 Origins scoring four tries for NSW (2010-2017), 18 Tests for Australia (23 tries) and 276 NRL games (176 tries).

But a knee reconstruction in May 2021 for the then 34 year-old forced his retirement.

“I went straight into NRL assistant coaching and then the opportunity (to coach) just popped up,” he said.

“I had spoken to Robbo about if he thought I could coach my own team after being a player for so long … whether I had the skills necessary.

“With the Roosters we have now got our own reserve grade team which is no longer affiliated with anyone else, and Robbo asked me if I’d like to do it. I was more than happy to grab it.”

The Roosters re-entered The Knock-One Effect NSW Cup competition in 2023 after an 18-year break. It was also the last season they shared with the North Sydney Bears as the NSW Cup feeder clubs for the tricolours NRL side. 

Morris has a hard initiation into The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup playing Penrith twice and two others from last year’s finals – Blacktown Workers and South Sydney - in the opening four rounds. 

“Look it’s exciting for me. We’ve worked very hard in the pre-season and we had Penrith in our first pre-season trial and then Souths in our second, so we’ve got some experience there.

“I’ve tried to give my guys the right systems to go out there and execute whether it’s attacking structures or defensive systems so they can beat any team on any day.”

His other priority is having the NSW Cup squad NRL-ready.

“These guys have got to know the systems and principles of the NRL squad because that’s what they’re fighting to get – a spot in the NRL team,” Morris said.

“I’ve got to coach a certain style that almost mimics what we’re doing up top.

“In terms of game plans each week, that’s up to myself and my assistant (Tait Barnes). We know our systems, but we can also tweak that in the way we want to play in NSW Cup.”

Morris will have former Roosters NRL players Michael Jennings and Dylan Napa in his NSW Cup squad, but he also has some emerging talent fans should watch out for.

“Our fullback Callum Gromek came from the Wollongong competition … absolutely killed it down there. It’s a pretty tough competition – I played it myself growing up,” Morris said.

“He’s a wonderful player and I’m excited what he can do this year.

“A couple of forwards in (hooker) Tyler Moriarty and (lock) Salesi Foketi played in the trials and have been training hard with the NRL squad.

“That’s been really good for their development so we’ll see how they take the physicality of playing against men week-in week-out in NSW Cup … it’s a bit different to Jersey Flegg.”

Foketi scored a try in the Roosters 22-20 loss to Canterbury-Bankstown in last year’s Jersey Flegg Cup Grand Final.

Acknowledgement of Country

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.