‘Step up and lead the club’: JT’s ‘Morgo’ mission
Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston has issued Michael Morgan a challenge to "step up and lead the club in the right direction" after a forgettable year for the North Queensland franchise.
The Cowboys spluttered to a 14th place finish in 2019, winning just nine games amid a spate of injuries and off-field drama.
In their first season without long-standing Queensland icon Thurston, Morgan was handed the reins to lead the 2015 premiers through the dark.
But suffering a string of concussion related set-backs, the play-maker's year was soon written-off with the club forced to find solutions in other areas of the field.
Having recruited smartly in the off-season, namely through the likes of former NFL hopeful Valentine Holmes and Esan Marsters, Thurston believed the club was now perfectly poised for a turnaround and issued Morgan the challenge of leading the way.
"If Morgo can have a really big year and replicate what he did in 2017, I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but he's the man that needs to step up and lead the club in the right direction," Thurston told Wide World of Sports.
"I expect him to really stamp his authority on this team, moving forward.
"Last year was his first year in the captaincy role. He had Matty Scott and Gavin Cooper around him to help him with that role."
Thurston also celebrated the addition of some long-needed pace on the Cowboys' edges and expected Holmes to be a deadly asset in his ability to not only score, but setup tries.
"I expect them to use the ball a bit more, they've got more speed on the edges," Thurston said.
"They obviously got in Valentine Holmes and Esan Marsters, so they probably lacked that speed on the edges for the last couple years.
"I've been out there watching the boys train out there a couple of times, and Val looks so good at fullback.
"He's been training extremely well, he's looking sharp and he's ball skills are great as well. Just how he sums up those three on two situations which we've lacked over the past couple of years, so hopefully he can ice that.
"Before he left playing for the sharks, he finished first in try assist and nearly first in tries. So if he can produce that for us again then hopefully that will sneak the cowboys up into the top four."