Michael Morgan is in the mix to claim the Queensland No.7 jersey. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Michael Morgan is in the mix to claim the Queensland No.7 jersey. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

JT wants Morgan to take his Maroon throne

JOHNATHAN Thurston has anointed Michael Morgan as Queensland's next champion halfback as the Cowboys captain outlined his mission to win back his Origin jumper.

Retired Cowboys legend Thurston believes Morgan is the No.7 to reclaim Origin supremacy for the Maroons, and says he will prove his play-making class in Friday's derby blockbuster against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Without Thurston's brilliance for the first time in 14 years, the Cowboys will turn to the magic of Morgan, who will trade playmaking blows with Brisbane pivot Anthony Milford in the early-season audition for Queensland jumpers.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters said the Maroons' No.7 jumper was far from secure with Daly Cherry-Evans' incumbency just one game old after his sublime return for Origin III last season.

Walters' stance opens the door for Morgan, with 37-game Origin icon Thurston saying a masterclass from his Cowboys halves successor tonight against the Broncos would emphatically demonstrate he was ready for the Queensland No.7 hot seat.

"`Morgo' should be the Queensland halfback this year - 100 per cent," Thurston said.

"I know 'Chez' (Cherry-Evans) played extremely well last year but I think Morgo is best suited to the No.7 jumper.

"If the Cowboys continue their good start to the year, having Morgo as Queensland halfback will go a long way to the Maroons winning back the series.

Morgan has played nine matches for Queensland. Picture by Adam Head.
Morgan has played nine matches for Queensland. Picture by Adam Head.

"I've always had a huge opinion of Morgo. I was beside him when he made his NRL debut (in 2010), I was his roommate, and he is the future of the Cowboys.

"I thought Morgo showed great control last week and with him calling the shots, the Cowboys are going to be a powerhouse of the competition for years to come."

A veteran of 140 NRL games, Morgan has a premiership ring and won a World Cup as Australia's five-eighth in the 2017 final against England, but one of his final frontiers is playing in the halves for Queensland.

Despite having played nine Origin matches across four campaigns, Morgan has never donned the Queensland No.6 or No.7 jumpers.

The 27-year-old has played once at centre, once at fullback and seven times as Queensland's No.14 supersub, but now Morgan is keen to emulate Thurston by calling the shots for the Maroons.

"I want to get back in the Origin arena," Morgan said.

Morgan roared to life in the first game of the season. Picture by Evan Morgan.
Morgan roared to life in the first game of the season. Picture by Evan Morgan.

"I understand we've got a lot of good playmakers so at the moment my focus is on playing well for the Cowboys.

"But if my form is good enough, and 'Kevvie' (Walters) looks for me to start in the halves for Queensland, I'd really like the opportunity to do it.

"The way Daly and Cameron Munster finished the series last year, they deserve to be in the box seat. But I hope my name is at least tossed up because that's my goal this year - to play in the halves for the Maroons."

Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold coached Morgan as a 19-year-old at Mackay in 2011 and warned he could run riot on Friday night if the Broncos don't restrict his thinking time.

"We'll definitely pressure Morgan," he said.

"Morgo takes the bulk of the kicks now that Thurston is no longer playing so we have to put him under pressure because he has an outstanding kicking game.

"We need to take some time away from Morgo, but if they are getting quick play the balls we won't be able to do that."

News Corp Australia

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