Infotainment Factory: Lockyer calls out Cowboys star's epic slide

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Lockyer calls out Cowboys star's epic slide


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Queensland great Darren Lockyer has called out Cowboys' star Michael Morgan for his lack of leadership which has coincided with the club's slide since their 2017 grand final appearance.

Last round's 18-14 loss to the Broncos ended North Queensland's slim NRL finals hopes, with the club left languishing in 13th position and searching for their next saviour following the retirement of Johnathan Thurston.

A couple of years back Morgan was the man being groomed to fill Thurston's massive shoes after leading the the Cowboys to the 2017 decider without the Maroons legend by his side.

He was a given a five-year, $5 million contract and was installed as the Cowboys' outright leader after coach Paul Green scrapped the co-captaincy agreement the club had adopted over the years.

Against the Broncos Morgan's halves partner Jake Clifford was in fine touch - scoring a nice solo try, while Morgan struggled to make an impact in attack and frustrated Green with some poor last tackle options including a first-tackle grubber on a Broncos turnover.

The Cowboys coach addressed Morgan's form after the Broncos game, admitting he wished his player could undertake a more ruthless approach with his attitude towards the game.

"I think sometimes 'Morgo' can be too nice," Green said.

"He worries about everyone else sometimes. If he got a bit more of that tough streak in him, it would come through and help his game.

Johnathan Thurston

"But Morgo is contributing. He was good in patches (against the Broncos), but when we were in a winning position, we didn't get the job done."

Lockyer agreed with Green's sentiments, highlighting how the Cowboys especially needed an experienced leader to drive home the advantage and make the right decisions against the Broncos. He said Morgan is still being assessed on the form he showed a couple of years back.

"It comes down to the leadership of the halves," Lockyer told Wide World of Sports' QLDER.

"There's a big void there after Johnathan Thurston but I think everyone looks at Michael Morgan in 2017 but he's well down on where he was. To win those tight games it comes down to leadership.

"I think he needs to own the game in those situations. He needs to demand the football, kick to the corners and apply pressure."

Compounding the issue is the fact that Morgan hasn't slotted into a position comfortably all season, playing in three different jersey numbers for the Cowboys, while filling in at centre for the Maroons during this year's State of Origin series. In addition, Morgan suffered two concussions in the space of 12 days which curtailed his return to clubland after the Origin period.

While it's easy to point the finger at Morgan for not coming through at pivotal moments against the Broncos, several other features of the Cowboys' game underlined the team's incompetence.

North Queensland missed 31 tackles to Brisbane's five while also finishing the clash with 13 handling errors. With the Cowboys out of finals contention their attention will now focus on sending club great Matt Scott out a winner in his final season in the NRL.

Queensland great Darren Lockyer has called out Cowboys' star Michael Morgan for his lack of leadership which has coincided with the club's slide since their 2017 grand final appearance.

Last round's 18-14 loss to the Broncos ended North Queensland's slim NRL finals hopes, with the club left languishing in 13th position and searching for their next saviour following the retirement of Johnathan Thurston.

A couple of years back Morgan was the man being groomed to fill Thurston's massive shoes after leading the the Cowboys to the 2017 decider without the Maroons legend by his side.

He was a given a five-year, $5 million contract and was installed as the Cowboys' outright leader after coach Paul Green scrapped the co-captaincy agreement the club had adopted over the years.

Against the Broncos Morgan's halves partner Jake Clifford was in fine touch - scoring a nice solo try, while Morgan struggled to make an impact in attack and frustrated Green with some poor last tackle options including a first-tackle grubber on a Broncos turnover.

The Cowboys coach addressed Morgan's form after the Broncos game, admitting he wished his player could undertake a more ruthless approach with his attitude towards the game.

"I think sometimes 'Morgo' can be too nice," Green said.

"He worries about everyone else sometimes. If he got a bit more of that tough streak in him, it would come through and help his game.

Johnathan Thurston

"But Morgo is contributing. He was good in patches (against the Broncos), but when we were in a winning position, we didn't get the job done."

Lockyer agreed with Green's sentiments, highlighting how the Cowboys especially needed an experienced leader to drive home the advantage and make the right decisions against the Broncos. He said Morgan is still being assessed on the form he showed a couple of years back.

"It comes down to the leadership of the halves," Lockyer told Wide World of Sports' QLDER.

"There's a big void there after Johnathan Thurston but I think everyone looks at Michael Morgan in 2017 but he's well down on where he was. To win those tight games it comes down to leadership.

"I think he needs to own the game in those situations. He needs to demand the football, kick to the corners and apply pressure."

Compounding the issue is the fact that Morgan hasn't slotted into a position comfortably all season, playing in three different jersey numbers for the Cowboys, while filling in at centre for the Maroons during this year's State of Origin series. In addition, Morgan suffered two concussions in the space of 12 days which curtailed his return to clubland after the Origin period.

While it's easy to point the finger at Morgan for not coming through at pivotal moments against the Broncos, several other features of the Cowboys' game underlined the team's incompetence.

North Queensland missed 31 tackles to Brisbane's five while also finishing the clash with 13 handling errors. With the Cowboys out of finals contention their attention will now focus on sending club great Matt Scott out a winner in his final season in the NRL.

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